$1M worth of iPads mostly unused after being purchased for local elections

By Joel Eisenbaum - Investigative Reporter

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - The Harris County Clerk will test custom-modified iPads at 100 polling places during the Nov. 7 election.

The 2,400 tablets have been sitting in a warehouse since July 2015, unopened and unused.

Channel 2 Investigates first revealed the existence of the unused technology in October 2016.

The iPad models in question were first released in November 2013, so by the time they are pressed into full service next year, the base technology will be nearing five years old.

“We had to get the application what I call, essentially perfect. We had to do all the testing and that did take longer than we anticipated,” Stan Stanart, Harris County clerk, said during a press conference this week.

Stanart has said the implementation of the so-called “electronic pollbooks” will make the check-in process at polling locations vastly more efficient.

Unsatisfied with the iPad stands currently on the market for this application, the County Clerk engineered custom stands.

Stanart spent $3,500 on a 3D printer to make prototypes of his creation.

Stanart, through a spokesperson Friday, declined an interview request with Channel 2 Investigates to further discuss costs associated with the project.

However, we did receive the following statement from his office Friday:

"During the November 7 election cycle, the Harris County Clerk’s office will be introducing the use of electronic pollbooks on election day at 100 polling locations. The electronic pollbook pilot experiment is a small scale preliminary trail of the use of new technology at the polls. The goal is to fully implement the use of electronic pollbooks at every election day polling location for all elections starting with the 2018 March Primaries. Currently, on election day, the official list of the registered voters for a given voting area are maintained in hard copy poll books. The electronic poll book will automate and speed up the voter check-in process at polling locations.

"The Harris County Clerk’s goal is to use new technology on election day to provide all voters access to the voting process in a timely manner as well as increase the efficiency and integrity of the election process.

"The County Clerk is not available for an interview. However, as election day (Nov. 7) gets closer, the County Clerk’s office will be addressing the electronic poll book pilot."

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