Kane County’s vote-by-mail automation equipment is saving taxpayer dollars while ensuring accuracy in the voting process, according to a news release from the Kane County Clerk’s Office.
Kane County Clerk John A. Cunningham recently hosted Lake County Clerk Robin O’Connor and a dozen members of her staff at the Kane County Clerk’s Office in Building B of the Kane County Government Center as well as the elections warehouse in St. Charles to demonstrate the state-of-the-art vote by mail automation equipment and explain how it saved time and money during last November’s General Election.
O’Connor is investigating Vote by Mail equipment and reached out to Cunningham about bringing her staff to visit Kane County. She had visited Kane County last year to discuss preparations for the 2020 General Election and to view Devnet, Kane County’s tax extension and vital records software.
“It was a pleasure to host Robin and her staff,” Cunningham said via news release. “As former president of the National Association of County Recorders and Clerks, I have worked with other clerks from both parties around the county and built a network to discuss best practices, evaluate election equipment, and develop new innovative ways to provide services.
“I work closely with clerks from around the state, especially in the collar counties, because we share some of the same challenges and can work together to find creative ways to serve the public more efficiently.”
O’Connor thanked Cunningham said she was impressed by the tour.
“Kane County is a model for many of us because they have made so many advancements in the field, and we like to see what they are doing that works so well,” she said. “The relationships I have with other clerks like Jack have helped me to modernize my office and provide better services to the residents of Lake County.”
The Lake County Clerk’s Office recently purchased a Votemobile, joining Kane County as the second election authority in Illinois with one.
Prior to the November 2020 election, Cunningham purchased a sorter to automate the processing of inbound Vote by Mail ballots and an inserter to assemble the outbound Vote by Mail ballots and envelopes.
The sorter time stamps the ballot when it comes into the office, scans the voter’s signature so that a bipartisan panel of election judges can compare it to the signature in the voter registration database, sorts the unsigned or empty envelopes from the good ones, and prepares the envelopes to be opened by the election judges.
The inserter automates the formerly manual process of assembling the Vote by Mail ballot, affidavits, instructions, and return envelope inside a larger envelope.
Through automation and management, Cunningham estimated that the Clerk’s Office saved more than $500,000 in additional staff salaries to assemble and process more than 80,000 Vote by Mail ballots and an additional $175,000 in postage by folding ballots a second time to fit into a smaller return envelope.
While other counties were processing Vote by Mail ballots late into the night last November and catching up in the days to come, Kane County had processed and tabulated all of the early and mail votes that had been cast prior to Election Day by 7:15 p.m. that night.
As the election authority for Kane County, the Clerk’s Office provides many resources for those who wish to be informed about elections, including its Voter Outreach Program, the VoteMobile, participation in community events and social media.
SOURCE: Kane County Clerk’s Office news release