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home : opinions : our editorials February 26, 2015


5/28/2014 1:20:00 PM
High tech not always the best
The Rice Lake Chronotype

Voting electronically rather than the original roll call by voice voting at the Barron County Board of Supervisors regular sessions is proving problematic.
The supervisors voted electronically on iPads for the first time at their regular session in April. It was time-consuming but expected. Last week's e-voting was equally tedious. One of the problems is that not every supervisor is computer savvy. Another problem is that there isn't a way to prevent someone voting twice; that also happened a couple of times that night.
County technology experts were on hand to lend aid but that can't be expected to continue, given that they are paid for their time. While there are problems at this point with the supervisors casting their votes electronically, we see an even greater problem. By voting electronically, each vote is not immediately known. The only thing announced once the votes are in is the outcome of the vote. If someone wants to see who voted how, that information is not readily available. It requires getting the outcome from the county clerk during a break or after the meeting.
Just before the first electronic voting was attempted in April, an official was asked what the advantages would be to voting electronically. One of the advantages given was that no one would know at the time of voting how anyone voted. Huh?
Supervisors are supposed to represent their constituents. It's just plain wrong that a constituent attending a County Board meeting would not instantly know how his or her supervisor voted. E-voting is just one more impediment to the public getting the information for which they are entitled. It'd be different if there were hundreds of representatives who were voting. At the most, we're talking 29. Even though there might be more user friendly e-voting systems out there, they cost too much for a simple yes or no.
We say scrap the e-voting idea and return to what has worked well. We hear comments by supervisors about the lack of public attendance at County Board meetings. We don't see that improving any if the general public has to sit through the lengthy process without immediate results.

[The editorials that appear weekly in this space are the views of the newspaper as determined by The Chronotype's editorial board. All editorials are written by one or more members of the board, which consists of Warren Dorrance, Sam Finazzo, Ryan Urban and Eileen Nimm.]

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