Document Imaging At The Election Booth

Presidential candidates aren't the only ones brewing up strategies for this year's elections. Local election board committees who want to streamline their record-keeping and prevent fraud are investigating a technology used by banks and insurance companies.

Document imaging systems are computers with scanners that convert ordinary paper documents, such as policies or voter-registration records, to digital form for easier storage and retrieval. That way, rather than flipping through thousands of voter-registration cards, election inspectors can easily search for and verify voter signatures. That could help spot forgeries on nominating petitions, for example. Some local boards, such as the one in Niagara County, N.Y., already use the setup to produce condensed printed versions of the digitized records for use at the polling booths. That way, the original signature cards--in their bulky, 70-lb volumes--remain locked away at the county clerk's office on election day.

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