Early voting is getting easier for voters in the Springhill area.

Webster Parish Registrar of Voters Melanie Smith says an internet line will be added to the Springhill Civic Center, which will connect them to the main office in Minden.

“It is an internet connection to the ERIN statewide voter registration system,” she said. “The reason I want to have it there is we have early voted in Springhill since the 70s, and we early vote up there completely manually. We do not have a computer connection with ERIN.”

ERIN, or the Elections and Registration Information Network, is the statewide voter registration system used by all parishes in Louisiana.

“Anyone can vote there, just like they can in the main office,” she said.

She says when voters cast their ballots during early voting week people will use the machines just like they would at the courthouse in Minden. Instead of entering their registration information into the computer like they would in Minden, those who early vote in Springhill currently have to be logged into a book that contains 26,000 registered voters, Smith said.

“All the work that’s been done manually has to come back here and be entered into the ERIN system immediately,” she said. “This will eliminate that entire process, and you can come to the early voting location at the Springhill Civic Center. The process will function exactly as it does in the main office, because we’ll have a direct line into the statewide voter registration system.”

Figures from the Webster Parish Police Jury show the initial cost of the project will cost $2,000, and an annual fee of $4,200 for the line, breaking down to about $350 per month. The police jury approved the line item in the December meeting with the approval of the 2016 total budget.

Funding for the installation will come from the police jury’s general fund under elections expenses, with the annual/monthly fee coming from the registrar’s budget for their phone lines.

The registrar of voters’ office has about $56,600 total in 2016’s budget.

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