Philly election officials to roll out electronic poll books for May primary

The city took a four-year process to adopt the voting technology
Voters at polls in Philadelphia during the 2022 midterm general election.
Voters at polls in Philadelphia during the 2022 midterm general election. Photo credit Mark Makela/Getty Images

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia voters will finally be checking into the polls electronically during May's primary election, after the city adopted electronic poll books in a process that took nearly four years.

City Commissioners Chair Lisa Deeley said electronic poll books will streamline voters’ check-in process, making it faster and easier for both poll workers and voters.

“I just think that the electronic poll books are going to revolutionize the way Philadelphians vote in person,” said Deeley.

“It’ll streamline the process, it will be more efficient, and it’ll be a much better day for the board workers.”

Poll workers will no longer have to page through bulky paper poll books.

Voters will instead sign the electronic pad, not much different than a credit card pad, but larger.

The process should reduce human error and help resolve problems such as a voter showing up at the wrong polling place.

Poll workers will be able to instantly see if a voter was issued a mail-in ballot that must be returned.

The commissioners had hoped to launch the system in the last mayoral election, but there were glitches.

A new system was chosen, one that also had bugs that have now been worked out.

Deeley says one advantage of taking so long with the new process was their ability to put systems through their paces in other jurisdictions.

“They have been proven and tested to be safe and secure,” said Deeley. “I really think it’s going to improve the voter experience.”

The electronic poll books have approval from election watchdog group Committee of Seventy.

“At the end of the day, this is going to make things smoother for everybody,” said Committee of Seventy Policy Director Pat Christmas.

Training is currently underway for poll workers. As always, the commission is looking for volunteers. As an incentive, poll workers are being paid $50 to take the training.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Mark Makela/Getty Images