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Demand local election officials maintain updates for local voter registration roll, period.

Pa. House passes voter ID compromise

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Wednesday, February 15, 2006


HARRISBURG -- Voters would have to show some form of identification at the polls before casting ballots in any election under legislation the state House of Representatives approved yesterday.

The measure, a compromise between differing bills passed by the House and Senate, was passed largely along party lines, 106-91, and now goes to the Senate for consideration. But it faces a likely veto from Gov. Ed Rendell, who opposes the new identification requirements.

"This bill could disenfranchise thousands of voters, which is counter to the American election system," Mr. Rendell's spokeswoman Kate Philips said.

Currently, only people voting in a polling place for the first time must show identification. Under the legislation, every voter would have to show election workers a form of identification such as a valid driver's license; U.S. passport; a student, employee or government ID; or a county voter registration card.

Several Democrats argued that the identification requirements would place an undue burden on the elderly and minorities.

Republicans countered that the legislation would make Pennsylvania law consistent with federal voter-identification requirements and combat voter fraud.


there is no excuse for Fayette County to not undergo a complete and thorough purge of so-called deadwood from the local voter registration roll.
The county now has the new system called SURE installed.  There may be some glitches, but those shouldn't prevent the review of the voter registration roll necessary to ensure fraud-free elections.
Track this issue.
State: New voter registry not ready
By The Associated Press
Friday, February 6, 2004

In August, the Pennsylvania County Commissioners Association said the state had provided inadequate computer equipment, software and support for the fledgling system, called the Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors. Association officials said they were still concerned when they came to the Capitol in January to discuss their legislative agenda.

Doug Hill, the county association's executive director, said that his organization remains committed to developing the system, but noted that in his conversations with county officials, they have reported "huge problems" with the registry's operations.

One problem is that it takes up to an hour to print out a report from the system, Hill said. Another problem is that entering a voter record into the system takes three times as long as it did in any previous system. And when multiple users are logged onto the system, the delays are even longer.

System computers are also getting a lot of error messages and have problems rebooting, Hill said.

One of the reasons behind the postponement is the impending voter registration deadline before the April 27 primary, when county offices are flooded with new registration forms, Hill said.

"You get thousands of those on the deadline and you have just a few days to turn it around," he said.

Reviews of the system in the four counties that were the first to use the registry last May were generally unfavorable.

As this point, 13 counties -- Adams, Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bucks, Butler, Cumberland, Dauphin, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Perry and Somerset -- are using the registry as their official system of record for 2.1 million voters, the state said.


State election officials still plan voter registry
One day after abandoning plans to have a statewide voter registry up and running before the April primary, state elections officials said Friday they still hope to do so by the presidential election in November.
February 7, 2004 Tribune-Review




HARRISBURG (AP) -- One day after abandoning plans to have a statewide voter registry up and running before the April primary, state elections officials said Friday they still hope to do so by the presidential election in November.

Only 18 of the state's 67 counties are currently fully participating in the Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors. State Department spokesman Jesus Pena said officials hope to have about 55 counties connected to the SURE system by the April 27 primary and the rest by the Nov. 2 general election.

The system, which will make it easier for county officials to electronically cross-check and update voter registration information, has been in the works for more than three years. It predates Florida's 2000 presidential recount fight, which spawned a 2002 federal law requiring such registries in all states.

County officials have complained since last summer about problems with the SURE system, which will replace the separate registration systems that most counties still maintain, and expressed skepticism that a statewide registry could be operational by the 2004 primary. As recently as last week, however, state officials had said they remained committed to that deadline.

But Thursday, Secretary of State Pedro A. Cortes said the deadline had been pushed back to the end of 2004, citing problems identified in a $78,000 review by a consultant that examined the work of another consultant that holds a $19.5 million contract to implement the SURE system.

Gov. Ed Rendell said he is concerned about the slow progress on creating the registry, "although I think a lot of states are having the same problem."

"I am seriously worried that we could have another Florida here in Pennsylvania," he said.

Attempts to reach Cortes on Thursday and Friday were unsuccessful.

James E. McAvoy, a spokesman for Accenture Ltd., a New York firm contracted to oversee the SURE implementation, said all 67 county election offices now have SURE computer equipment and software. Training by Accenture and state officials continues in those counties that have not yet connected to the system, and they are able to use the equipment to try out what they learn, he said.

The review of the SURE program by Raleigh, N.C.-based InfoSENTRY Services Inc., ordered in response to the continuing criticism by county officials, cited shortcomings in Accenture's handling of the SURE project. Accenture responded by charging that InfoSENTRY applied a different industry standard than Accenture uses and questioning some of the factual findings.




SURE system worth the wait

Monday, February 9, 2004
(opinion Valley Independent)

When it comes to reforming the electoral process, major changes are certainly better late than never.

Of course, on time would have been preferable, but when dealing with a massive bureaucracy, we'll take what we can get.

Pennsylvania announced last week that it has abandoned hopes of completing a statewide voter registry in time for the April 27 primary election. That's the bad news.

The good news is that 55 of the state's 67 counties are expected to be connected to what is being called the SURE system by late April. The rest are planned to be participating by the general election Nov. 2.

The new system, which is short for Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors, will give county election officials the ability to electronically cross check and update voter registration information. The push to get the process in place began three years ago, even before the hotly contested presidential recount fight in Florida.

Four counties actually tried out the new system during the 2003 primary. Reports were mixed and bugs had to be worked out, but the overall feeling was that the system gets easier with practice.

As recently as the beginning of February, state officials expressed hope that the April 27 deadline could be met. However, a few remaining problems forced that goal to be pushed back to the fall.

In this case, we don't mind the government delay. Public trust in elections is such an important issue -- one that has been tested by the Florida recounts and other recent incidents -- that we want to see the elections officials take their time and get it right.

Every time election season rolls around, we hear jokes about people voting multiple times or a candidate getting heavy support from the graveyards. Not only are those jokes not particularly funny, they undermine public confidence in our elections system, which is the backbone of a democracy.

The system needs to be fixed. Registration lists must be updated and purged to make sure that only living, breathing, eligible voters are allowed to cast their ballots.

We are confident that the SURE system will push Pennsylvania in that direction. So to election officials we say, take your time, but get it right.


I can't disagree with anything said in the viewpoint.  However, the counties that now have this tool in place should not be held back by counties which are having glitches.


Get the voter registration rolls clean now.

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