State voter registration software a 'disaster'

2007-11-28T00:00:00Z 2011-11-04T18:30:54Z State voter registration software a 'disaster'Solly Kane
November 28, 2007 12:00 am  • 

The software program that oversees Wisconsin elections is not fully operational despite being almost two years past the January 2006 deadline, according to government officials. 


According Wisconsin State Elections Board spokesman Kyle Richmond, , problems with the software include its inability to check drivers' license numbers against one another when registering. 


The system also cannot recognize felons and deceased voters, tasks currently done by hand, Richmond said. 


Throughout each state only one system of registering voters may be used, though it can differ from state to state, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. This is in line with a federal mandate that was supposed to be completed by 2006, the WSJ said. 


Richmond said the software problems will have no effect on the outcome of elections and the state has already run four successful elections with the software. 


The lack of functional software, however, has created more problems for the state's 1,850 election clerks who are not able to use the new technology, according to Richmond. 


Mike McCabe, executive director of the government watchdog group Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, described the project as a disaster and a colossal waste of over $23 million in taxpayer money. 


McCabe said the contractor hired to complete the project three years ago, Accenture, has not fulfilled its part of the contract. 


Accenture has taken the position that the project is complete. They want the last payment on the contract and they want to get the heck out of Wisconsin,"" McCabe said. 


According to Richmond, the state has been in dispute with Accenture since the summer and the election board intends to receive what it asked for in the contract. He was unsure when the dispute would be resolved. 


McCabe said it appears that Accenture tried to implement a generic system in Wisconsin that wasn't designed to comply with the particulars of state law. 


""Accenture seems to be very good at selling itself and getting contracts and convincing states to bring them in, but they don't seem to be able to program their way out of a paper bag,"" he said. 

Accenture was unavailable for comment as of press time. 

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