New Jersey's 16th Legislative District

Senator Kip Bateman

Senator Kip Bateman

Bateman Bill to Test Electronic Poll Books in Upcoming Elections Advances

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The Senate advanced legislation (SJR-77) sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman to modernize New Jersey’s voting system by permitting each county commission of registration and respective board of elections to conduct a voluntary study on replacing traditional paper polling records with electronic poll books.

Sen. Kip Bateman’s bill would help modernize voting in New Jersey’s by allowing studies on replacing traditional paper polling records with electronic poll books. (©iStock)

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 new poll books would limit voter fraud by signaling an electronic notification of a registered voter’s mail-in ballot and Election Day voting record.

“At a time when voter turnout just hit a historic low, this common-sense legislation will reduce the likelihood of voter fraud while bringing our voting system into the 21st century – giving voters a faster, more efficient way to participate in elections,” Senator Bateman said. “This study will empower state officials to make informed decisions on the cost, feasibility and effectiveness of transitioning to electronic poll books, without compromising the security and confidentiality of the voting process.”

32 states, including Pennsylvania and Connecticut, have approved the use of electronic poll books. Under this resolution, the electronic poll books evaluated in the study must also 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. If signed into law, the study will be conducted during the 2015, 2016 or 2017 election cycles.

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