DuPage to buy more equipment for November election

The DuPage County Election Commission plans to spend more than $500,000 on equipment to speed same-day voter registration at the polls in November.

Executive Director Robert Saar warned county board members earlier this month that his agency didn't have enough electronic poll books to process the 38,000 to 52,000 DuPage residents expected to use same-day voter registration on Nov. 8.

The poll books are special laptops used to review and process voter information.

While the commission has 416 of the devices, Saar said he wants to buy 530 more for DuPage's 256 polling places.

Purchasing the electronic poll books, as well as label printers and other related equipment, will cost an estimated $541,000.

On Tuesday, the county board's finance committee reviewed a far cheaper proposal to rely on paper records to register voters.

But after an hourlong discussion, board members signed off on the more expensive plan.

Supporters pointed to Saar's claims it would take “at least three times as long” to register voters without using the laptops.

“The last thing we want to have happen is that individuals end up having to wait in line for an hour, two hours or three hours in order to register to vote,” Saar had said.

Board member John Curran said he supports the recommendation to buy more devices. He said he heard nothing Tuesday to change his mind.

Board member Gary Grasso said using the laptops will protect against fraud and ensure voters aren't disenfranchised.

“The $541,000 seems to be the best way to go to ensure a fair election in DuPage County,” Grasso said.

Board member Robert Larsen said he hopes the commission does additional research to make sure it doesn't buy more equipment than it needs.

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