While the new electronic poll books caused a rocky start to Tuesday's primary election, by the early afternoon things were running smoothly with poll worker Gayle Taylor reporting things were "business as usual."
Taylor, who has been a poll worker for about eight years, was part of the three-woman crew managing Precinct 18 at Life Community Church. Even for a primary election, she said the precinct had very little traffic.
Daviess County Court Clerk Leslie McCarty said voter turnout was 18.6% -- up from 12.2% four years ago.
"We had a couple glitches earlier, but we all got the hang of it and things are going good," Taylor said. "This ePollbook is new, but it is making things a lot easier for us, once we got it going."
The ePollbooks, or electronic poll books, are meant to simplify the voter check-in process. Traditionally, poll workers would flip through a hard copy registry to find and register voters. The ePollbook is a tablet with a scanner that provides poll workers with the voter's data.
Voters come in, scan their license and then sign the tablet with a stylus.
Taylor said there were a few instances where a voter was in the wrong precinct, which alerted poll workers when their license was scanned.
"A quick phone call corrected it and we were able to send them to their right location," she said. "It's slow today, but we expected that."
Richard House, Daviess County chief deputy clerk, said it was by design that the ePollbooks were brought out in time for the primary election. He and McCarty expected there to be some hiccups, as there always are any time new technology is introduced, he said, but both wanted any problems to be worked out before the general election in November.
"Primaries are usually slow, especially the governor's primary," House said. "We did this now with the purpose to have it all ironed out for the busier elections later."
House said there were early reports of people leaving polling places because the poll workers didn't think they were ready to open the polls. The ePollbooks connect wirelessly to a portable router, but some poll workers were looking for a cord they didn't need in order to run the machines, which caused some delays, he said.
McCarty said anytime new technology is introduced it takes a while for people to become acclimated, and even though the poll workers had several training sessions, it still takes time to get used to it.
But once the machines are working properly, it does speed up the registration process, she said.
"Other issues have been simple things like they didn't know the right cords to plug things into the power source, and things like that," House said. "It's unfortunate that some people went to vote and left the line. We hate that, we do. Especially when we spend so much time preparing for this, and spend a lot of taxpayer money to get these things up and running."
He said regardless of if crowds flock to the polling stations or if there are just a few sprinkled throughout the day, the election still costs the same -- $130,000.
Brooke Hagan said she voted Tuesday because every vote matters, which was evident last fall when Democrat Jim Glenn beat state Rep. DJ Johnson, a Republican, in the 13th District House race by one vote. Johnson contested the result but Glenn was ultimately sworn in to the seat.
"I'm here because if you don't vote, then you have no say in things," Hagan said. "One vote really does make a difference."
Bobbie Hayse, email@example.com, 270-691-7315.