New Jersey's 16th Legislative District

Senator Kip Bateman

Senator Kip Bateman

Bateman Bill to Test Electronic Poll Books in 2017 Elections, Prevent Voter Fraud Passes Committee

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Legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-16) to permit counties to conduct a study replacing traditional paper polling records with electronic poll books during the 2017 election cycle has cleared the Senate State Government Committee.

Senator Bateman’s bill permits counties to study replacing traditional paper polling records with electronic poll books during 2017 elections, preventing voter fraud. (©iStock)

“This commonsense move to modernize New Jersey’s voting system will give voters a faster, more efficient way to do their civic duty,” Senator Bateman said. “Most importantly, electronic poll books limit voter fraud by signaling an electronic notification of a registered voter’s mail-in ballot and Election Day voting record. With a number of high-profile elections fast approaching, it is critical that we do everything we can to prevent this crime.”

Senator Bateman’s “Electronic Poll Book Demonstration Project” (SJR-37) authorizes each county commissioner of registration to partner with the board of elections to conduct the voluntary study. The proposed electronic poll books would mirror the functionality of current paper logs, providing an auditable record of each election, as well as immediate access to a registered voter’s record and digitized signature.

The electronic poll books evaluated in the study must include the following capabilities:

  • Record a voter’s signature at the poll;
  • Assign a sequential number to each person permitted to vote;
  • Redirect a voter to the correct polling place;
  • Verify whether additional documents are needed to prove voter eligibility; and
  • Interface with state system to ensure all security and accessibility standards are met.

The study would be limited to no more than 5 percent of election districts in each county. Paper records must be on hand at every polling station in case the technology fails. Counties are responsible for submitting a report to the Secretary of State detailing the cost of the project. The report must also include a plan for training election staff to use the electronic poll books.

More than two dozen states, including Pennsylvania and Connecticut, have approved the use of electronic poll books. If signed into law, the study will be conducted during the 2017 election cycle.

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