Cleveland County Used Electronic Poll Books By Decision Support To Save Money and Prevent Voting Fraud In November 2011 Elections

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Decision Support was hired by Cleveland County to use electronic poll books during the November 2011 elections that saved the county from hiring additional workers by streamlining the voting process to cut back on supply expenses and paperwork. With State and County government revenue streams drying up and a growing number of voters, the concept of Vote Centers makes voting more convenient and saves money.

Decision Support, a data and process management software company, provided the electronic poll, http://www.decisionsupport.com/Solutions/ElectionsManagement/tabid/153/Default.aspx, book during the November 2011 elections in Cleveland County. The electronic poll book is also known as Electronic Voter Identification (EViD), which manages voter check-in at polling places, including the administrative processes, post and pre-election. Since EViD’s initial election management debut in 2004, multiple states have used the technology for every type of election including early, primary, run-off, special, general and municipal.

EViD streamlines the election process by speeding up voter check-in, while providing data integrity and secure information encryption. EViD supports voter lists from single or multiple precincts, which allows voters to visit any voting center instead of a specific voting location during Early Voting or on Election Day.

The EViD electronic poll books interconnect within the vote centers as well as interconnect each vote center or polling location with each other. This unique, patented process prevents voter fraud by using a secure application to synchronize workstations. After the election updates to voter history, name changes, address changes, and complex issues like provisional ballots are streamlined, freeing up vital resources, saving money, and speeding up the process of declaring the election results official.

Debra Blanton, Director of Elections for Cleveland County, said, “Election Day, November 2011, went very smoothly and with very little problems. The training that was provided by Decision Support gave a good basis for the precinct officials to be able to operate the electronic poll books. The City of Kings Mountain has its boundaries in two counties. The Electronic Poll Book had all voters from both counties in the information, so voting qualified voters from two counties was made very simple.”

Blanton said, “The entire Election Day process has been streamlined. There is the technical set-up the night before an election. But everything is left in place for the next day, and the precinct officials come in, turn everything on, and can begin to assist voters as soon as the polls are open for business.”

In North Carolina, where Cleveland County is located, Blanton said that poll books involve labels and authorization forms for voters to sign. The Electronic Poll Book reduces manual work for officials and voters because they can follow the prompts on-screen for electronic voter identification, http://www.decisionsupport.com/Solutions/ElectionsManagement/tabid/153/Default.aspx, print the form, and have the voter sign it.

Blanton said, “The poll workers are very much in favor of using the electronic poll books. It is much easier for them to find a voter’s name and to process the voter, especially if the voter has no address or name problems. If problems are discovered, then the electronic poll book offers clear options (buttons) to handle all situations.”

Some poll officials said, “I don’t ever want to go back to the way it used to be.”
“I don’t have to know so much about the behind the scenes reasons for what I do. I just have to follow the prompts (on the screen).”

When Blanton proposed to combine precincts into super precincts to The State Board of Elections, the savings for streamlining the paper and labeling process presented equaled $1700.00 per precinct on hiring additional workers, and $1200.00 in savings per precinct for additional laptop rentals. Blanton said they currently operate the Electronic Poll Book in twenty-six precincts with a history of combining four precincts into two.

Decision Support has served clients for over 26 years. Its growth in the election arena has increased as more and more jurisdictions adopt and deploy Electronic Poll Books. Miami-Dade County and Broward County, two of the largest counties in the United States have been benefiting from this technology for years. “Our partner in Florida, VR Systems, was able to help these counties deploy this technology in some of the most demanding election environments in the nation. We have learned a lot from these deployments over the years and all that real world education has gone into each and every new release of EViD” says Decision Support CEO Bruce Wilkinson.

Blanton said, “We could not have asked for any more assistance than what the Decision Support staff has rendered. This support includes both technical and verbal assistance.”

Go to Decision Support’s website at http://www.decisionsupport.com to learn more about the election management technology and answers to questions on support and operation in a vote center.

About Decision Support

Founded in 1984, Decision Support, provides data management, process management and reporting software products for our customers. Our product offerings include Electronic Poll Books and Ad-Hoc Reporting / Data Integration Engines that streamline data access and presentation to help our customers improve performance. We have experience helping banks, credit unions, insurers, manufacturers, distributors, healthcare providers and government (including federal, state and local) agencies improve different aspects of their operations.

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Mike Sibley
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