OCEAN CITY –The City Council unanimously approved the purchase of equipment that will aim to streamline the voter registration process on Election Day, bringing Ocean City up to speed with the rest of the county.
City Clerk Carol Jacobs and Chair of the Board of Election Supervisors Mary Adeline Bradford, presented the recommendation to the Mayor and Council this week, explaining both the pros and cons of the new system.
In 1990, Universal Registration was enacted, requiring all registration information to be controlled by the Worcester County Board of Elections Office. Registration data was then periodically sent to the town’s Clerk’s Office to amend existing data files. Although the data was transferred to the control of the county, software remained compatible. In 2006 however, the county changed their election software.
“The reconciliation of their data files to ours became extremely labor intensive and prone to error,” said Jacobs.
Jacobs explained that the cost of purchasing the software system used by the State Board of Elections would be in excess of $25,000. The replacement cost of equipment would also be huge.
To solve the compatibility issue, Jacobs recommended to the Mayor and Council this week that they lease the ElectionPoll Solution, offered by Premier Election Solutions, at a total cost of $4,920. “We look at this as a win-win situation,” said Jacobs.
The ExpressPoll Solution system would consist of six, portable, tablet sized touch screen units. Election data is loaded into the units, and made easily available on Election Day. The units are linked, preventing any person from voting more than once. The units also automatically update voter history on the State Registration System.
Jacobs noted that the Election Day process would be streamlined with the new system. When a person arrives to vote, their name will be entered into the unit for verification. Jacobs noted that other municipalities in the county have been using the system with no problems.
“We make every effort on Election Day to make sure we are current with what the county says is current,” said Bradford.
The benefits of the new system include accuracy, cost savings and better utilization of IT Department man-hours. “A big plus in this is the saving of man-hours,” said Bradford.
“The town will no longer be able to provide candidates with registered voter lists or updates,” said Jacobs, noting the downside of the system. However, candidates will be able to purchase a CD of voter data from the state at a cost of $50.