For the past two years, Cherokee County has been using voting software that was developed by Cerro Gordo County.
The program, called "Precinct Atlas," is a precinct election management system and uses off-the-shelf hardware, and guides poll workers and precinct official through the correct process to check-in and validate each voter.
This user-friendly system is also designed for each voter's specific situation.
On Thursday, Iowa House Representative Dan Huseman, R-Aurelia, got a first hand demonstration of the Precinct Atlas program by Cerro Gordo County Auditor Ken Kline at the Cherokee County Courthouse.
Also in attendance for the demonstration were several Cherokee County Poll Workers and Precinct Officials along with Cherokee County Auditor and Commissioner of Election Kris Glienke and Election Assistant Jill Titcomb who hosted the demonstration.
Kline stated that the need for the program came about in 2008 when several voting laws were implemented. "Things were getting too complicated and the sure volume of laws makes it difficult for the average poll workers," said Kline.
The program provides an intuitive, user-friendly system for precinct officials and applies correctly and consistently to Iowa laws. The program is so user friendly that a new poll worker can get started with little training and makes the voting process faster and more secure for the voter.
The program protects each voter's right to by confirming the voter's name, address, and date of birth and updates voter registration information such as change of address.
Kline is proud of how the program secures the integrity of the election process by confirming each voter is voting in the correct precinct. The program also requires identification for voters who move to a new precinct or who have an "ID-Required" registration status. Another security feature is that the program correctly and efficiently processes voters casting provisional ballots and voters who had requested absentee ballots.
Precinct Atlas can easily processes voters who register to vote on Election Day. It records the voter's registration information and completes the required voter registration and oath forms. It also requires the voter to prove their identity and residency in the precinct by showing photo identification or having someone stand at witness of knowledge of that voter.
The program instantly checks to voter's name against a statewide list of convicted felons to verity a voter's eligibility.
Currently the Precinct Atlas system is used by 51 of Iowa's 99 counties. The program show such innovation that it has received several awards including The Election Center 2010 Stars & Stripes Award, Iowa State Association of Counties 2010 Excellence in Action Award and the National Association of Counties 2011 Achievement Award "Best of Category."
At the end of the demonstration Kline unveiled two new features to the program. The first is a card reader that scans any Iowa Drivers Licenses and quickly identifies the voter and processes them faster.
The other new feature is the ability for voters to access a web-based display of real time turnout and voter activity through out Election Day.
Representative Huseman was impressed by the demonstration. "This is great. I for anything that makes it easier for voters," said Huseman.
Kline also stated that he would like to see Iowa as being the front-runner in secure elections.