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Column: A Vote for Convenience

FILE: Voting, Election
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Tuesday’s school board election for Sioux Falls may have had a measly 3.7% turnout, but lack of convenience is certainly not to blame. The E-Poll Book system made things much easier for the few thousand voters that dutifully made their way to the polls.

Instead of the normal process of having to go to the specific polling place assigned to you, the new system allows you to vote at any polling place citywide. On a busy election day, that will turn out to be a nice feature, as it should make it easier to find time in your otherwise busy schedule to vote. This could take the shape of voting near work during your lunch break, or finding a polling place near your kid’s soccer practice, or a million other permutations.

Not that it actually happens enough to be lose any sleep over it anyway, but the system also works to prevent people from voting more than once, because it is networked and updates every few minutes. So no one will be able to vote then quickly run to another polling place and try it again.

The best part of the system is that the high tech aspect stays on the registration side. The actual vote was still accomplished by paper and pencil. Filling in a bubble on a scan sheet isn’t exactly 21st century technology like the E-Poll Book, but unlike the black box voting machines being used in other states, at least it is verifiable and allows for a good, old-fashioned recount.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John Gossom and do not reflect Results Radio, Townsquare Media, its sponsors or subsidiaries. 

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