Utah County Turns to the Epson DS-970 Document Scanner to Upgrade Its Voter Registration Process

The Utah County Elections Office received the DS-970 color document scanners free of charge

Utah County is the seat of Provo, Orem and 27 other cities in central Utah. The county made statewide news in the November 2018 election, when the lines to vote stretched so long that some had to wait past 11 p.m. to fill out their ballots.

As new county clerk, Amelia Powers, made it her mission to streamline the voting process and make it as smooth, accurate and efficient as possible.

She believes voting should take minutes, not hours, so she purchased new tabulation machines, and integrated a mobile voting app that allows military personnel, those traveling overseas and the disabled to cast their ballots remotely. Most importantly, she installed a new Epson DS-970 color duplex workgroup document scanner to help streamline the voter registration process and significantly reduce the time it takes staff to process.

At this speed, the new scanner can process a typical week’s worth of registrations in just 35 seconds, but Jarvis, the Utah County Elections Supervisor, estimates the entire operation – from start to finish – at two minutes to allow for putting the documents in the feeder and taking them out to store in a file drawer.

Finding the resources

County staff expected delays in 2018, given the county’s fast-growing population and limited resources, but the delays were greatly exacerbated by an unusually long ballot and high turnout.

Karlee Jarvis, who has served for more than ten years as Utah County Elections Supervisor, explains that “We are a county with 275,000 eligible voters, and we were using equipment more than a decade old. That’s a lot of voters with insufficient resources.”

“The primary in August was our first test of the new systems, and it went very well,” Jarvis reported.

Fast, accurate voter registration

The voter registration process in Utah County is straightforward. Those who have a valid Utah driver’s license can register online, and those who do not must fill out a paper form and deliver it in person or through email to the county elections office in Provo. Either way, Jarvis and her staff look at each registration, verify the address of the new voter, then scan and save directly to the statewide voter registration database.

The standard paper form is a half-page in length and requires basic information: name, address, place and date of birth, citizenship status, and Utah ID. There is a longer form for military personnel and other voters who are currently overseas. Jarvis says they receive – at minimum – 50 paper registration forms each week, and one employee would typically set aside at least an hour each week to enter them manually all at once. With the Epson DS-970, however, this process just takes about two minutes for the scanning.

Jarvis claims that the new Epson DS-970 document scanner is much faster, easier, and more reliable than the old scanner that often jammed or quit in the middle of a batch and needed to be restarted.

“I just wish we had brought on the new document scanner years ago,” said Jarvis. “With our old document scanner, scanning truly used to be an all-day event. Between the slow scanning speeds and regular technological issues requiring us to restart the scanner and tape up documents that the scanner had ripped in the process, someone would be standing at the scanning station for a large portion of the workday.”

The Epson DS-970 scans documents at up to 85 pages per minute,1 captures both sides, in black and white or full color, in one pass, and can save them automatically to PDF files using Epson’s Document Capture Pro software. It also includes a 100-page automatic feeder that can mix documents of various sizes in the same batch.

At this speed, the scanner processes a typical week’s worth of registrations in just 35 seconds, and the entire operation – from start to finish in two minutes.

“It’s remarkable how fast it is and how easy it is to use,” she says. “I can’t imagine how much time we have already saved by upgrading.”

The new document scanner is just one piece in the puzzle of reforming the voting process in Utah County.

The next test will be the 2020 presidential election. Jarvis is confident that the elections will run more smoothly now that their office is equipped with the resources needed to help streamline operations.

1 Based on letter-sized scans at 300 dpi in Black-and-White, Grayscale or Color Mode.

The Utah County Elections Office received the color document scanners free of charge.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual. The Utah County Clerk/Auditor Office received the Epson DS-970 document scanner free of charge.

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