Voter Registration Plan in Works
By Brendan Riley, Associated Press
December 07, 2005
This article appeared in the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza.
CARSON CITY - State and local election officials meet Thursday in Las
Vegas to work out final details of an alternative to a statewide voter
registration system that won't be ready for the start of Nevada's 2006
Representatives of Secretary of State Dean Heller's office and various
clerks and registrars from around the state will meet in the office of
Clark County Registrar Larry Lomax to finalize their "Plan B" solution
to a federal mandate on voter registration.
system linking the 17 counties and Heller's office is being developed
by Covansys, under a $4.6 million contract. But Heller said Monday it
won't be ready by a Jan. 1 deadline.
Covansys "just ran out of time" in trying to meet the deadline imposed
under the federal Help America Vote Act, Heller said. "So we had to
come up with an alternative."
The alternative is a "bottom-up" system using existing computer systems
to feed voter registration information from county election officials
to Heller's office, which will maintain a database that can be checked
to guard against any voter registration fraud or other problems.
"We've been working on this for two months," said Chief Deputy Secretary of State Renee Parker. "We're all on the same page."
Lomax said in a letter to Heller that the new system being developed by
Covansys isn't reliable or accurate yet, and the "bottom-up"
alternative using existing equipment is the best way to go to ensure
compliance with the federal act.
"If the state of Nevada is to be HAVA-compliant in 2006, the clerks believe this is the only realistic option," Lomax added.
Lomax also wrote that the clerks are well aware of the incomplete
status of the Covansys project because they have "devoted thousands of
hours to defining the system's requirements and to testing the software
Covansys has subsequently developed."
Heller said Nevada was able to meet the HAVA requirements for upgraded
voting machines starting in the 2004 election cycle, but the statewide
registration system project "just isn't going as smoothly as we had
"It's typical," he said. "It takes twice as much time as you think it
will. Usually it costs twice as much too, but we have some really tight
contract controls with Covansys."
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