The Anoka County Board March 27 approved the purchase of new voting equipment that will be up and running in time for the 2018 primary election in August.

Under a contract with KNOWiNK LLC, St. Louis, Missouri, the county will buy electronic rosters to replace the existing paper rosters at a cost of $573,365 plus an additional 5 percent change order amount of $28,668.

The electronic roster system comprises 505 iPads and the same number of printers, which will be distributed to the county’s 128 election precincts with each precinct receiving multiple rosters, according to Cindy Reichert, county elections manager.

The electronic rosters will streamline the existing process of checking in both registered and same-day voters at the primary and general elections, Reichert said.

The process will be speedier, easier and more efficient for both the voters and election judges, she said.

The county has received a state grant of $237,826 to pay a portion of the initial cost with the balance of $335,539 coming from the county’s asset preservation fund.

The county will also be footing the bill for ongoing operational costs that include an annual software license and maintenance fee of $63,125 a year, although the county has negotiated a delay in initial warranty expiration so that 2020 will be the first year in which the maintenance fee is due, according to Reichert.

As part of year one costs, in-person, hands-on training for county elections staff and city election judges is provided, while additional training videos and election day support services are listed as optional on the price list and can be purchased as needed, Reichert said.

The plan is to roll out the new electronic rosters system in time for the Aug. 14 primary election, she said.

The county went through the state contract to purchase the electronic rosters rather than going out for requests for proposals to save time, according to Jonell Sawyer, division manager for property records and taxation, which includes the elections department.

KNOWiNK is one of the election equipment vendors listed under the state contract and was chosen after demonstrations of its rosters took place that involved county elections staff, Reichert said.

“We felt it best fit our needs,” she said.

County Commissioner Jim Kordiak was excited by the purchase of the electronic rosters, he said.

County elections staff and the election judges do a critical job very well and this will help them, Kordiak said.

According to a Secretary of State’s office document, the Legislature in 2014 authorized counties, cities and municipalities to use electronic rosters for any election.

Electronic rosters, which are also known as electronic poll books or epollbooks, are an electronic version of the paper polling roster book, the document states.

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