Mercer County Voter Registration and Election Bureau

Mercer County Streamlines Logistics with USDR's Election Administration Platform



Mercer County, Pennsylvania’s Election Director, Thad Hall, sought an affordable, user-friendly system to streamline election administration. The county primarily conducts in-person voting, with 79% of votes cast at polling places. With a small five-person staff managing 72,000 registered voters, Thad saw an opportunity in U.S. Digital Response’s (USDR) suite of configurable, web-based tools to consolidate cumbersome legacy databases and processes for tracking election workers, equipment, candidate filings, equipment delivery logistics, security seal use, and campaign finance reporting. He also saw the opportunity to use the system to schedule poll worker training and communicate with poll workers on election day. By implementing USDR's election worker management, equipment tracking, and communication software, Mercer County has enhanced information accessibility, boosted productivity, and improved the election experience for voters and workers.

Background and Challenges

Before partnering with USDR, the Mercer County Elections Office managed poll workers using Pennsylvania's statewide voter registration database, the Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors system (SURE). There were frequent complaints that the system was "finicky" and problematic - changes to one part of SURE would often inadvertently delete data, requiring re-entry. It was also challenging to track the availability and status of the county's prospective poll workers over time.

Separate homegrown databases were housed across shared drives to track aspects like ballot logistics and candidate financial disclosures. This fragmented information was not easily accessible by all staff.

Communication on Election Days was another critical challenge. Thad had minimal visibility into polling place delays or issues until a phone call came in from the site itself. “I did not know if a polling place was having an issue opening on Election Day or having issues closing down,” he said.

Our approach

Selecting USDR’s Election Administration Platform

Thad had previously researched other election worker management tools but found available options prohibitively expensive. Peers in other Pennsylvania counties touted USDR's offerings. 

His key goals were enhancing transparency in election logistics and making information accessible across his five-person team. Moreover, the office needed an affordable, customizable solution that could scale to meet their needs over time.

Thad contacted USDR to implement the Election Administration Platform to consolidate key workflows, provide visibility through a central platform, and enable communication channels with poll workers. Moreover, since the platform does not need to be hosted on-premise, the Mercer County Elections Office’s IT team was even more excited about the solution.

The flexibility to start with crucial modules like poll worker management and equipment tracking while continuing to customize additional workflows over time was appealing. Thad felt confident in USDR's ability "to expand to meet our growing needs."

"First of all, it made me feel like I was doing a good job. It's made tracking our polling places and poll worker status much easier."

Thad Hall
Elections Director
Mercer County Voter Registration and Election Bureau


The Time And Efficiencies Gained

With USDR's solutions, Mercer County has set up workflows to manage poll worker recruitment, allocate precinct assignments, document machine delivery routes, and track barcoded security seals on election equipment. The customizable tables and dashboard reporting have proven more user-friendly than legacy systems, enabling staff to use the new solutions with minimal training.

Thad also highlighted USDR's embedded communication tools as a solution to previous Election Day visibility issues: "We were able to use the survey tool to contact all our poll workers and election judges. We did surveys at the beginning and end of the day, which made everything run more smoothly,” he said.

Reflecting on progress after the initial 2023 election cycle using USDR's solutions, Thad noted, 

"First of all, it made me feel like I was doing a good job. It's made tracking our polling places and poll worker status much easier." 

As the 2024 election presents opportunities to expand adoption, Thad aims to transition additional processes into the USDR platform.

Specific features like status surveys and delivery route mapping have streamlined communication and logistics. "The delivery tracking tool worked out well...Because we created different reports for them to know what to drop off at every polling place. And that made everything much smoother," Thad said.

With an eye toward 2024, Thad plans to expand usage for candidate financial tracking and ballot supply chain management. Thad also suggested new feature requests, "When I presented the seal tracking idea to them, they said we hadn't done this yet but would love to do it. And so they built a database for it.” USDR constantly learns from partners and incorporates new ideas into the election administration platform.

Ready to Streamline your Election like Mercer County?

Like Mercer County, jurisdictions across the country are managing new voting laws with limited resources and outdated technology. New, easy-to-use solutions are needed to connect the data, systems, and people that power elections.

USDR's customizable Election Administration Platform consolidates siloed information, automates manual processes, and facilitates proactive communication. If legacy voter systems and disconnected databases are holding your county back from more efficient election management, let USDR help you get the necessary tools. 

Get in touch today to explore how USDR can help your election office work smarter while saving money and time.


Meet the team

Kevin Miller
Kevin is a product engineer for USDR’s Elections Program. A web developer with over a decade of experience in the California State University system, he most recently led the website team at The COVID Tracking Project.
Christina Iacono
Christina served as a county consultant in elections until 2022, specializing in poll worker management, training, and logistics. She is currently volunteering with USDR to work with governments to streamline operations using technology.
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