Board readies for E-Pollbook elections

By Melanie Speicher -

SIDNEY — The Shelby County Board of Elections is preparing for the implementation of E-Pollbooks for voters in upcoming elections.

During the board’s meeting Monday morning, Chairman Chris Gibbs reported on their visit to the Champaign County Board of Elections to see how they have their E-Pollbooks organized.

Director Dawn Billing said Champaign County has its presiding judges come to the office on the Monday before the election to get everything they will need for the election.

“There’s a lock and badge on each of the pollbooks,” said Billing. “We’re going to have to work through what we want to do.”

Gibbs said at a polling location, such as the Shelby County Fairgrounds, the set up will be different with the pollbooks. There are six precincts that vote at the fairgrounds. A central check-in table will be located in the building, he said. A voter will check in and receive a ballot to vote. They will then be able to go to any of the voter booths which will be set up around the inside of the building.

“Each unit,” said Gibbs, “has the whole county (voter information) on it. On voting day, we will electronically petition for specific precincts at the voting locations.”

Currently in Shelby County, presiding judges come to the board of elections on the Saturday before election day to get everything they will need on Tuesday. If the pollbooks are sent with the judges on Saturday, all machines will have to be updated after the deadline for the absentee ballots has passed. A memory card with the information would have to be taken to each precinct for the update to be performed.

“Next month, we’re going to start training the staff,” said Billing. “The company is currently building our date to put it on the E-Pollbooks.”

Billing said May 10 is the deadline for a special election in August. If there are issues filled for August, then the training schedule for the E-Pollbooks will have to be changed.

“I think the first time is going to be confusing,” said Billing. “We’ll be able to make changes after each election until it all goes smoothly. Everyone (other boards of election) does something different. We have to do what works for us. I know we’ll hire extra people for the first couple of times.”

“We’ll also hold a mock election,” said Gibbs, “at a multi-location polling place.”

Deputy Director Donnie Chupp reported he has a “charging” schedule for all the E-Pollbooks. The 40 pollbooks will be on a rotating 30-day schedule where each one is charged for a half day to keep it fully charged.

In other business, the board:

• Schedule a half day cleanup for Thursday, April 20, at 8:30 a.m. to go through the voting booths.

• Learned a presentation of how to do petitions was given at the Shelby County Trustees Association meeting.

• Learned a June 7 workshop will be held at 7 p.m. at the board office for anyone who wants to learn how to fill out his/her petition.

• Agreed to do a presentation about the E-Pollbooks during the county employees meeting on Oct. 12.

• Learned the office will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on May 2 for election day. There are no county issues or races. However adjacent counties have issues on the ballot on which certain Shelby County residents will be voting on.

• Discussed which seats will be up for election in November. Two fiscal officers — Dinsmore and Green townships — will be on the ballot because they were appointed to the positions. Other seats up for election include village council, trustees (two for each township), board of education and ward positions for the city of Sidney Council.

• Approved an update to the sign off sheet when a person turns in their petition.

The board’s next meeting will be Monday, May 15, at 7:30 a.m.

By Melanie Speicher

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822; follow her on Twitter @MelSpeicherSDN. Follow the SDN on Facebook,

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822; follow her on Twitter @MelSpeicherSDN. Follow the SDN on Facebook,