Health Alert:   COVID-19 Transmission Level:   HIGH   More information
Get vaccinated.
Pima County Government Logo
  • Increase font size
  • Decrease font size
  • Print
  • RSS
  • Elections catching up with technology: Changes piloted in November

    Oct 28, 2013 | Read More News
    Share this page
    Goodbye, unwieldy manual signature roster books. Hello, tablets. none

    Under a pilot project being implemented by Pima County in the Nov. 5 Vail incorporation election, voters who go to the polls will be able to use a mobile computer that’s smaller than a laptop to sign for their ballots.

     The technological change will make the voting process more efficient in a few key ways:

    • Faster identification. Voters will place their identification on the screen and the “eye” in the tablet will read the information and find the voter’s name, assuming the voter is eligible to vote in the election;
    • Automatic updates. State law currently mandates the paper roster books be printed 10 days prior to an election, which is problematic given that voters may make last-minute changes to their existing voter registration information or cast an early ballot immediately prior to Election Day.
    • Staff savings. Under the previous process, staff had to manually scan and upload every signature bar code on the electronic roster after the election. That can be done automatically with the new system. 

    Technical staff will be in attendance to guard against any interruption in service, but hard copies of the poll rosters will be on hand as well.

    There is no cost to the County for the pilot program, since the costs are being absorbed by the company providing the equipment, Know Ink.

    The polling places also will no longer use precinct-based scanning equipment. Instead, voters will drop their ballots into a secure box that is under observation at all times by poll workers and then securely transported to a central tabulating facility at the Elections Office located at 6550 S. Country Club Road. Independent observers will continue to oversee the process and results will be audited.

    Elections Director Brad Nelson said with Pima County soon forced to replace its aging elections system, it doesn’t make a great deal of sense to invest in costly new precinct-based equipment when most voters are now casting their votes through the mail.

    “This will be a chance to see how the equipment performs and whether this is the direction we’d like to move in,” he said. Voters with disabilities also will be able to vote privately and independently on a touch-screen tablet device. The machine will print a paper ballot that will allow the voter to compare against the screen and will be used for auditing purposes.

    There are approximately 7,000 voters within the proposed Vail boundaries who are eligible to vote. Approximately 4,000 of these voters are on an early voting list and will be mailed an early ballot, so as many as 3,000 votes may be cast at the four polling locations in Vail on Election Day.