Arizona Secretary of State - Ken Bennett

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For Immediate Release
May 17, 2010

Contact: Matthew Benson
Director of Communications
602-350-2834 - mobile

Twitter: @therealAZsos

Sec. Bennett to observe use of e-poll books in Yavapai County

Pilot project for tomorrow’s election the first of its kind in Arizona

PRESCOTT, Ariz. – Secretary of State Ken Bennett will be in Prescott on Tuesday to observe Yavapai County's use of electronic poll books as part of the May 18 Special Election. From about 6 to 9 a.m., he'll be with county officials at a polling place inside the Mackin Building , 840 Rodeo Dr., in Prescott.

Yavapai County is using the e-poll books as part of a pilot project, and is the first county in Arizona to use the new elections tool. The county will have six e-poll books in use Tuesday, with a pair in each of three polling places. Funding for the equipment was provided through a federal grant issued to Yavapai County by the Secretary of State's Office.

E-poll books are part of the next generation of elections equipment. An entire county of registered voters can be loaded onto each e-poll book. That allows poll workers to quickly determine whether a prospective voter is in the correct polling place, rather than having to scroll through sheets and sheets of paper. A window for electronic signatures replaces a signature roster. E-poll books lead the way to a more paperless and instant voting experience.

“Yavapai County voters may get a glimpse at the future of elections Tuesday,” Secretary Bennett said. “We should always be open to advancements that make voting more accessible and secure. I'm excited the county has chosen to take this cautious first step.”

If use of the new equipment proves successful, they may one day be employed on a limited basis at county vote centers. At these vote centers, any county voter would be able to cast a ballot without regard for their usual polling place – an advancement made possible by e-poll books in conjunction with existing voting equipment. The hope is to make voting more convenient and reduce the number of rejected ballots cast by registered voters who happened to vote at the wrong precinct location. Statewide, nearly 15,000 ballots were rejected for that very reason in the 2008 general election.

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For all media questions, or to schedule an interview with Secretary Bennett, contact Matthew Benson, director of communications, at (602) 350-2834.