Knox County Election Board looks to add modifications for future elections

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VINCENNES, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — An effort is underway to make elections more secure in Knox County. This comes after the state of Indiana recommended the 17 remaining counties using paper poll books, like Knox, transition to electronic poll books.

Knox County Clerk, David Shelton, says switching to an electronic version will keep votes secure and initiate the process of transitioning from a precinct voting system.

“With improved technology we will be able to adjust we will able just to speed things along. We’ll no longer have to print out massive paper poll books before the election. We’ll no longer have to go through and mark those for people who have voted by absentee mail or in person,” Shelton said. “It’s going to eliminate time and effort that goes into an election with a paper poll system,”

In the last election, Shelton confirms one citizen voted twice in Knox County. Both versions of the electronic poll books have different ways of verifying if a voter has voted by scanning a form of identification.

“The integrity of the election is the cornerstone of government. If you don’t have faith in the elections, how can you have faith in government itself,” Shelton said. “The system in Indiana is very secure, is it infallible? No. Can you vote twice? Maybe, but you won’t get away with it. I’m very confident in the system,”

Voter information through the E-polls are secured through encryption.

“I have a lot of faith in the election integrity in our country and in Indiana and in Knox County. The reason I do, is because I believe the vast majority of people do not set out to defraud anyone,” Marsha Fleming, Vincennes resident said. “Human error sometimes creeps in. Going to an electronic system will keep the integrity of the votes and you kind of the take human error out of the equation,”

After deciding on the brand of device to use, Knox County plans to initiate the transition to a vote center county. This would allow registered voters to vote at any polling place.

“Another aspect of going to a vote center now, before next election is we are getting ready to do redistricting once we get the information from the census. People’s polling places are going to change,” Shelton said.

A county must undergo a seven step process. County council members and commissioners have to, by majority vote, pass resolutions simply approving a county’s designation as a vote center county. 

The state of Indiana will fund E-Polling books for the remaining counties using paper poll. This was contingent of counties evaluating state recommended companies KNOWiNK and VR Systems.

Shelton believes the cost for the equipment and first year software will be around $80,000.

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