Submitted by Donna Trehus
Houston Co. Auditor/Treasurer
“What is an EPollbook/Poll Pad”? It is simply an electronic roster used at the polling place to check-in voters.
EPollbooks replace paper rosters.
Of the 87 Minnesota Counties, 64 currently use Knowink EPollbooks. Houston County has 27 precincts that would benefit from using EPollbooks. The County currently has 12,389 registered voters. The largest City, La Crescent had 3,519 voters in 2020 with a total election turnout of 92% overall for the County. As 2022 is a gubernatorial election year, we do expect high voter turnout.
• Is the Epollbook connected to the internet at the polling place and what voting data capabilities are provided with their use?
No, the only time the Houston County Auditor/Treasurer will connect the EPollbook to the internet is when the ePollbooks are returned to the Auditor/Treasurer’s office. The day following the election, County Staff uploads the signed roster information to the Minnesota Secretary of State Voting Registration System (SVRS) through a secure connection. This is not a voting system. Ballots are not counted using the Epollbooks; they are used solely to check-in voters. There is no voting history stored on the EPollbook. There is no real time recording.
• Is this system cost effective for the County, even though Houston County has fewer voters than a large metropolitan county?
Yes, it is a cost effective system. This tool will save time on the back-end of the election process, thus minimizing additional staffing costs and over-time. EPollbooks add efficiency to election day registration as the EPollbook is capable of reading a driver’s license to process the registration and eliminates ineligible handwriting issues.
• Is the roster information data uploaded and stored?
Yes, the data is stored for 22 months on a secured data site. The County may elect to store the data for a longer period, much like paper registration options.
• EPollbooks will work without WIFI.
Yes, EPollbooks are designed to work without WIFI. Houston County will NOT connect EPollbooks to the WIFI at the poll locations.
• Will there be a backup provided to the Polling Places for the fall election?
Yes, the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office will provide a backup, paper master list to each precinct in compliance with MN Statute 201.225.
• Is there federal testing governing the design of the EPollbooks?
No, there is not a federal certification process or requirement. The County will continue to comply with MN Statute 201.225 regarding rosters.
• Are there precincts that would have multiples precinct voter lists?
No, there is only ONE voter precinct loaded onto each poll pad.
• How many EPollbooks does the County currently have and how were they funded?
The County purchased 33 EPollbooks with approximately $3,300.00 of County funds. The balance of funding was provided through the Vega Grant and some Cares Act funding.
• Why were EPollbooks not used in 2020 elections?
Due to Covid 19 restrictions, the County opted not to implement and use the EPollbooks in 2020.
• Will it be a challenge to train on the EPollbooks?
No, the training is straight-forward. As Auditor/Treasurer, I will have all head judges fully trained, familiar and comfortable with the operation of the EPollbook. I will also have an adequate number of other judges trained at each site.
As Auditor/Treasurer of Houston County, the integrity of any election is always my top priority. If you have additional questions concerning the EPollbooks, please reach out to me at Houston County 507-725-5815.