Franklin County Commissioners Tuesday approved the purchase of electronic poll books for the use in future elections, making the county one of the first to adopt a proprietary iPad application-based system developed by a St. Louis-based company.

County Clerk Debbie Door has been testing the system from KNOW.iNK at polling places during elections in April and June.

The application uses an iPad’s built-in camera to scan barcodes found on voter notification cards sent out before elections, or on a person’s driver’s license.

Poll workers also can use the application to look up voter information manually using a search function.

Door said Tuesday the company is the sole source supplier for the iPad-based application, negating the need for the county to solicit bids.

She also noted that the cost of purchasing the system, and the iPads, will be covered by grant funding and special funds within her office designated for equipment upgrades.

No general revenue from the county will be used, Door stressed.

The purchase isn’t a surprise, as Door said in April she has been looking into buying electronic poll books since the 2008 presidential election.

She said previously the software will allow her office to process and report voter information in a day. Currently it takes her office about six weeks after the date of an election.

The exact number of iPads and software licenses to be purchased wasn’t detailed in the commission order. The order stated only that the commission authorized Door to purchase “a sufficient quantity to meet the needs of the clerk’s office.”

Door said she had hoped to have the electronic books in place prior to the August election, but a delay with the county’s iPad 3 vendor is making that unlikely.

Poll workers were trained to use the new system this week.

“We will definitely use them in the November election,” Door said.

She said poll workers also will have paper poll book backups available during the November election, but will switch to the entirely electronic version next year.