Secretary of State Chet Culver is in the midst of a major computer overhaulthat’ll modernize Iowa’s voter registration system. Culver’s using half aMILLION dollars in state money to start the upgrade, and hopes to use somemoney Iowa will get from the feds this spring to complete the $2 MILLIONproject. He hopes to have it done by 2004. Culver says the current system is a circa 1970 mainframe computer that cannot “speak” with the other stateand county computer systems which store voter registration information. Thestate Department of Transportation stores voter registration on its computersystem because Iowans can register to vote when they renew their driverslicense. The Department of Public Health reports when voters die. Thecourt system reports when voters get a felony conviction. And all 99counties have computer systems that dump into the mainframe, too. Culversays the new, centralized computer system should be updated in real time,giving officials another avenue to prevent vote fraud. Culver sayscandidates and the political parties have been buying the lists ofregistered voters and because of the antiquated system, up to 30 percent ofthe registrations have been wrong because people have moved, died or beenconvicted of a serious crime.
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