House budget plan includes $5.6M for election agency
COLUMBIA — The State Election Commission would receive about $5.6 million in one-time money to buy laptops that can speed up precinct voting lines and to start saving for a future replacement of voting machines under the House budget plan.
The money is part of $113 million that the budget proposal, approved this week, distributes from the current fiscal year’s rainy-day fund.
Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire said $600,000 would buy 1,200 laptops with electronic voter registration lists that can help move lines because poll managers can process voters more quickly, compared to searching for names on paper lists.
“Lines at polling places usually form at the check-in table,” Whitmire said. “Over a 12-hour voting day, it can have a big impact on how quickly the lines can move.”
The electronic look-up also would enable poll workers to tell voters who show up at the wrong precinct where they need to go.
Paper print-outs list only the names of registered voters for that particular polling place, he said.
The third benefit of going electronic would be to speed up the agency’s post-election processing that provides statistics on who voted and helps keep voter rolls current, Whitmire said.