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Franklin County moving to electronic poll books

Franklin County voters will be casting votes on iPads. (WSYX/WTTE)

Franklin County voters will have a new experience when going to the polls for the May primary.

When you go to vote, you're probably used to paper poll books. But in Franklin County, the paper is out and these I Pads are in, "It's very simple. It's fast.”

That’s the goal of the electronic poll books according to Aaron Seller with the Franklin County Board of Elections.

The Board of Elections is stepping into the 21st century, getting 15 hundred of the devices. Sellers says the technology will speed up your voting time, "you'll be able to go to any of the poll pads instead of the old system where depending on what your last name ended, you had that one particular line."

The polls books will make their debut in time for the May 2nd primary.

So, how do they work? Election officials say when you go to your polling place, you swipe your driver’s license or state ID. Your information pops up, then you verify it and sign your name. Poll workers confirm the signature, and when they do, a ticket is produced that indicates you’re ready to vote.

All of it sounds good, but we're talking about technology. What happens if a machine breaks down? "Each voting location will have a minimum of three poll pads. So if one were to go down, there's still two,” says Sellers.

Ok, but what about hackers?

"Each poll iPad that we send out has all the data that's already in it and they will communicate with each other, but they will not be, it won't be outward that somebody could hack into it,” adds Sellers.

Paper poll books won't vanish. They'll be kept around as a backup. Turnout for off year primaries is not the same as general elections, but officials hope you exercise your right, "there's still a lot of important things that are on the ballot and it's important people get out and vote."

Franklin County joins 27 other Ohio counties as well as 19 states and the District of Columbia. The iPads cost a total of $2,138,429. The state of Ohio paid $1,347,907. Franklin County $790,522.

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