Voting Convenience Centers
The transition from precincts to voting convenience centers has many benefits.
By transitioning from precincts to Voting Convenience Centers, Bernalillo County, New Mexico sought to make voting as convenient as possible while reducing election costs. Bernalillo County turned to Robis Elections’ AskED® ePollbook with Ballot on Demand technology to help ensure a successful transition for their 2012 elections.
Prior to Ballot on Demand, Bernalillo County’s election process was based on the traditional precinct voting model. This model required the jurisdiction to maintain and staff 170 polling locations. The County Clerk also pre-printed ballots for each precinct. If voter turnout was low, the remaining ballots would be shredded, wasting county funds. In addition, voters were required to vote in the precinct closest to where they lived, which did not allow them to vote at a location near their office or other daily tasks.
The Bernalillo County Clerk wanted a new model that would benefit both voters and taxpayers. The County sought to smoothly transition from precinct-based to Voting Convenience Centers. These centers would allow voters to vote at any official site they chose. However, there were challenges to overcome for a successful roll-out of this concept.
“Trying to predict how many voters in what precincts would vote and would need a paper ballot was wasteful,” explains The Bernalillo County Clerk, Maggie Toulouse Oliver. “There was also a security risk: how did you make sure these ballots were not tampered with or stolen when they were distributed all over the county?” And, if the County allowed voters to vote at any designated location, they needed to make sure that qualified voters received the correct ballot and only voted once. At these new polling sites, the County Clerk wanted to provide on-demand printing of the correct ballot style for each voter, regardless of their assigned precinct.
Voter behavior, precinct logistics and a 2010 test of eliminating pre-printed ballots solidified the County’s desire for change. After researching a number of options, Clerk Toulouse Oliver turned to Robis Elections’ AskED Electronic Pollbook and Ballot on Demand (BOD) system to power a successful launch of Voting Convenience Centers for their 2012 elections.
The AskED ePollbook and BOD, the only all-in-one electronic pollbook with Election Decision Support™, automates voter check-in, updates voter history on the spot and allows for easy ballot printing on demand. All voter data can be synchronized between multiple locations in real-time, so county pollworkers would have immediate access to the roster of the County’s registered voters on laptops.
Such functionality ensures that no voter can vote twice and voter traffic can be monitored to troubleshoot problems caused by excessively high or low voter turnout at any one location. Additionally, timely voter activity reports can be generated for key stakeholders.
“It’s been exciting to see how The Bernalillo County Clerk’s team has embraced the technology and really transformed their elections. Our job was to make life easier by providing responsive technology with outstanding training, support and customer service,” says David Davoust, President of Robis Elections.
The AskED technology freed the voting ballot from the precinct-bound system. So in 2012, the County eliminated its 170 precinct locations staffed by 2,400 poll workers and opened 69 Voting Convenience Centers staffed with 800 employees and election officials. These Centers were open to all registered voters.
The easy-to-use AskED ePollbook guided Bernalillo County pollworkers through simple “yes” or “no” questions to determine voters’ eligibility. Opinions and guesswork were removed from the equation, reducing errors and minimizing the need for time-consuming provisional ballots.
"The ePollbook incorporates voter data for the entire county and allows us to tailor each person’s ballot combination based on their specific districts—whether school, county commission or water flood control districts," said Roman Montoya, Deputy County Clerk of Bernalillo County.
“These changes have helped tremendously with the conduct of the election and voter experience,” adds Clerk Toulouse Oliver. “We’ve received tons of positive feedback…The technology piece has been integral to our success. We couldn’t provide that same positive experience if we didn’t have the capability to access voter records and strong confidence in the security of our data.”
Behind the scenes, Bernalillo County enjoyed a high level of customer service. “Robis Elections has the capacity to provide the needed service, the technological capabilities, and the bandwidth in their customer service department. They went the extra mile for planning and prepping on the front end, going to great lengths to evaluate, plan and make sure every site was up and running,” says Clerk Toulouse Oliver.
With proper planning and using the AskED® system, Bernalillo County did not experience any significant delays in voting. They were able to adjust quickly based on the location voters decided to go. The County could readily deploy additional equipment or people as needed. This was part of the service Robis provided and the County did not have to purchase additional equipment or add technical staff.
As the Bureau of Elections Administrator, Rebecca Martinez serves on the frontlines of every election. “When it comes to administrating an election, you have to change things on the spot and roll with the punches,” says Martinez. “Robis was not only open to our requests for new features and changes; they were able to meet them in a timely manner. That is huge!”
By moving to Ballot on Demand and Voting Convenience Centers, Bernalillo County is saving over one million dollars per General Election. The County realized these savings by:
• Reducing the quantity of voting equipment
• Decreasing the number of poll workers needed
• Consolidating 170 precinct polling sites to 69 Vote Centers
• Eliminating need to pre-print ballots and thereby eliminating waste
At the polls, voters now experience more convenience and efficiency. According to The Deputy County Clerk Roman Montoya, “The University of New Mexico conducted a study of our 2012 elections and reported more than 90% of all voters who used the new system responded very positively.”
As Bernalillo County conducts future elections, the County Clerk’s office has the assurance that Robis Elections stands ready to equip them with continually improving technology, plus customer service and support tailored to their needs.
How can we help you? Robis Elections software is used in over 50,000 locations across the country. To learn more about the AskED® ePollbook and other Robis Elections products, visit www.GoAskED.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 630-752-0220 (office).