Iowa Secretary of State Chet Culver says he’s come to an agreement on a contract for a new voter registration system. Culver, who is also the State Commissioner of Elections, says the state will use just over four million dollars in federal funds to pay an Oregon firm for the system. He says the state’s 99 counties are currently using a “patchwork” system for voter registration, and this new system will move all the counties onto one system so it’s “much more efficient and high-tech and takes us into the 21st Century.” Culver says the new system will make it much easier to keep track of registrations from county to county. He says now if you move from one county to the next, the new registration will be updated in “real time.” In the past you filled out a new registration and it could take days or weeks to be entered into the system and be updated without any lag. And if you register at a D-O-T center, it will also be updated immediately and copied to the county where you live. Culver says the new system will be tied to various state departments that have information used to update voter registration lists. For example, the Health Department can enter information on people who die into the system so they can be removed, and the Corrections Department will also share information. He says if a felon tries to vote, they will be flagged by the system and told they’re not allowed to vote under current law. Culver says they hope to have the system running by this fall. He says they hope to have the system ready for use by the schoolboard elections in September and then the city elections in November. Culver says the Help America Vote Act requires the new system by January of 2006, so the state will be ahead of the curve. Culver says an Ames company called INCODE is helping the Oregon company develop the software. The State of Iowa received some 30-million dollars in federal money to make voting system improvements. Culver says the next step is new voting machines.
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