Shelby County BOE holds off on poll book decision

By Blythe Alspaugh - [email protected]

SIDNEY — Discussion around new electronic poll books lead the Shelby County Board of Elections to wait on making a decision until they have more hands-on-experience with their options.

“I would like to see another demonstration that’s more hands-on than just someone showing you something that’s on a screen, and flying through it like there’s no tomorrow,” Board member Merrill Asher said.

Three of the poll books the board has considered are Tenex Software Solutions, KNOWiNK and Election Systems & Software. Previously, the board had facilitated a demonstration utilizing Tenex and KNOWiNK poll books, with an estimated 24 people attending including poll workers, county commissioners, county Engineer Robert Geuy and the board’s IT manager.

Deputy Director Collin Claywell said he had contacted Election Systems & Software regarding their poll books last week, and hadn’t received any response. Currently, Election Systems & Software has not certified with the state board of voting machine examiners. Claywell said the last he was informed by Election Systems & Software, they may be on the agenda for September. Claywell plans to reach out again at some point this week.

Board Chairperson James Kerg said he wasn’t impressed with the KNOWiNK presentation, and added the technical issues during the presentation were dismissed as a glitch on the Board of Election’s part were later found to be on KNOWiNK’s end of things.

“That raises some concerns in my mind that, if they can’t present an error-free demonstration, how in the world are they going to perform across 35 precincts on Election Day,” Kerg said.

Kerg added that while he felt more comfortable with the Tenex system during their presentation, he felt it didn’t facilitate what they were trying to accomplish. His concern is, the people who will be using the poll books on Election Day haven’t had hands-on experience with the options the board has available for poll books.

“I wanna know that the folks that have filled out the surveys that we have been provided with, have had their hands on this equipment and have had the chance to touch, work, play — do whatever they need to do with this new poll book equipment so that they are comfortable with the capabilities,” Kerg said. “I would assume a vendor that wants to sell us this much in equipment, or even a couple of hours, with polling election officials and let them really critique the equipment.”

The Board of Elections also approved the following new policies and procedures during Monday’s meeting:

• Election policy 32, which covers the check-in process for all ballot workers, was approved in a 3-0-1 vote, with board member James Thompson abstaining due to calling into the meeting remotely.

• Election policy 33, which covers training of election supervisors and poll workers, was approved in a 3-0-1 vote, with Thompson abstaining.

• Security policy 04, which covers procedures on purchase of equipment through grant funds, was approved in a 3-0-1 vote, with Thompson abstaining.

• A policy covering all general-federal fund purchased equipment was approved in a 3-0-1 vote, with Thompson abstaining.

• Election policy 34, which covers processing absentee, UOCAVA, provisional ballots and ballot requests, was approved in a 3-0-1 vote, with Thompson abstaining.

Final ballots and the ballot order for the Election Day were also approved in a 3-0-1 vote, with Thompson abstaining.

The following bills for audit were also approved 3-0-1, with Thompson abstaining:

• Shelby County Commissioners/Postage: $101.6;

• Bunny’s Pharmacy/Bottled Water, coffee, tissues, towels: $25.41;

• OVIS/Annual renewal fee: $100;

• US Bank/Copier lease: $143.02;

• Triad GSI/May Election Remote Ballot Marking System: $1,000.

The next meeting of the Shelby County Board of Elections will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 19.

By Blythe Alspaugh

[email protected]

Reach the writer at [email protected]

Reach the writer at [email protected]