Supervisor of Elections Ida Elliott knows a bargain when she sees one, and the voters are beneficiaries of her eye.
Beginning with this election, county voters will be signing in to vote on a new EVid system, a method of electronic voter identification that will enable poll workers to manage the process more smoothly, in real time without researching interruptions, and have the information back at the office with the touch of a button.
Using $16,000 in capital outlay monies in her budget approved last year by the county commission, Elliott added another $4,000 of her other budget dollars and bought 10 EVid units, for a total cost of $20,000.
The units are new and unused, but not the latest model, and had been turned back by a larger county when they decided to go with a newer version. As a result, Elliott saved about $600 per unit.
Her assistants, Carrie Johnson and Heather Riley, said the new units will have voters simply present their driver’s license, which is the overwhelming card of choice for photo identification. They’ll swipe the cards through the EVid like a debit card at the grocery store, and the poll worker will then be able to look at the same record that is traditionally in the paper books, only instantaneously.
The voter will sign in on an electronic pad, and they’ll be ready to vote. Unless of course they haven’t brought a photo ID of any kind, in which case they’ll have to vote a provisional ballot, which the canvassing board will ultimately have to decide whether or not can be cast.
It will be easier to make address changes at the polls the day of the election, Elliott said, although she did ask that voters try to make those changes ahead of time, either in person or through the mail, or by contacting the elections office at email@example.com. To reach the office, call 653-9520.
All eight polling sites will have the new EVid machines, as well as the two offices. In addition, poll workers will have the printed voter registration lists, to double check if need be, or in event of an emergency.
“They’ll always be a proper backup,” said Elliott. “It should be quicker and more efficient.”
Early voting for the Aug. 26 primary begins Monday, Aug. 11 and runs through Saturday, Aug. 23. During this 13-day window, the election offices in Apalachicola and Carrabelle will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays, and until 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Elliott noted that in four of the eight precincts, if an individual is not registered with either the Republican or Democratic parties, there will be nothing to vote on. Otherwise, there is something on every ballot in all eight precincts for Democrats or Republicans to vote on.
There are no non-partisan ballots (which encompasses minor parties) in Precinct 1, at the Eastpoint Volunteer Fire Department, 24-6th Street; in Precinct 3, at the Florida National Guard Armory, 66 4th Street, Apalachicola; and in Precinct 7, at the St. George Island Methodist Church, 201 E Gulf Beach Drive, on the island.
In half of Precinct 5, at the Senior Citizens Center, 201 Ave. F, Carrabelle, there are no non-partisan ballots for those voters who are in District 5, which is represented by County Commissioner William Massey and School Board Member Pam Shiver.