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The HAVA Bulletin
An Update on the Help America Vote Act

July 2005, Issue #5


A YEAR OF TRANSITION AND PROGRESS
MESSAGE TO MUNICIPALITIES

We are only six months away from the January 2006 deadline for the Central Voter Registration System (CVR) as required by the Federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Our success depends on your participation and continued cooperation, and your involvement will increase in the coming weeks and months.

Here’s an update on the work in progress and upcoming phases of the project:
Data Conversion (in progress): Many of you with electronic systems have already been working with our staff to load your voter lists into the system. This process has several cycles before completion.
CVR Equipment Rollout (July-Aug.): We have sent you a Use Policy Agreement which you should return to us as soon as possible, so we can schedule delivery of a computer and other equipment for use with the CVR.
Voter Card Imaging (July-Dec.): Our vendors, Covansys and PCC Technologies, will schedule visits to each municipality to scan voter registration cards into the CVR.
Training (July-Dec.): Track One training begins this summer; Track Two begins this fall.
User Acceptance Testing (Aug./Sept.): 22 municipal officials will test the CVR System.
Production Pilot (Oct.): The first group of municipalities goes online.
Municipal Rollout (Oct.-Dec.): Municipalities go online in groups.

With all of these plans in motion, you will see an increase in our communications: by email, letter, telephone, and in person. You will be interacting directly with our staff as well as Covansys or PCC (the CVR vendors), CBE-Valcom (the computer equipment vendor), and perhaps internet providers.

We will do our very best to be sensitive to your busy schedule, paying special attention to the time constraints around the November statewide election. As always, we encourage you to contact us with any questions or concerns about any aspect of our requests for your time. We cannot stress enough the importance of your cooperation and timely response to requested deadlines on specific tasks.

This historic change to a new statewide voter registration system will benefit municipalities as well as voters. This year of transition will be complex and challenging as you prepare and train for a new system-- while continuing to conduct business as usual until you switch over to the CVR. By January 2006, we will all be enjoying the many rewards of a centralized statewide system.

CVR Timeline and Milestones


CVR Equipment Delivery to Municipalities

The Office of the Secretary of State recently sent municipalities a CVR Equipment Use Policy Agreement for the computer and other equipment the State will provide for use with the Central Voter Registration System (CVR).

We require receipt of the completed Agreement prior to shipment of the equipment. As soon as each municipality returns the signed Agreement to the Division of Elections, we will schedule delivery of the equipment.

Each municipality will receive:

• Desktop computer with Intel Pentium 4 Processor and Windows XP Operating System (Includes flat monitor, 40 GB hard drive, CD drive, disk drive, modem, MS Office, and anti-virus software)
• Printer
• Image Scanner
• Depending on the size of the voter list, barcode scanners and label printers may be provided.

We would like to ship the computer and equipment to municipalities as soon as possible. The CVR Use Policy Agreement details how the equipment can be used and maintained. The equipment will remain State property, but is being provided at no cost to you. A Help Desk, necessary maintenance and repairs will also be provided subject to the agreement at no cost to municipalities.

If any municipal officials are receiving Track One Training this summer, it is important to return the Agreement to us so we can accelerate the shipment schedule to ensure the computer equipment is available to use immediately following the training.

If your municipality has not received the Agreement, please contact:
Johnnie Meehl, Phone: 624-7650 or e-mail: Johnnie.Meehl@maine.gov.


Training Update

The State is about to hire a Training Coordinator. We will announce the selection in a separate communication as soon as possible. This individual will facilitate and schedule all training and will contact municipalities over the next few weeks to schedule both training and computer installation. We will coordinate our shipments with the specific training needs of each municipality.

Track One Training begins in late July and continues through the summer, before the rollout of the CVR.

Note: Track One Training is not required for all users. Please refer to our June 20th memo concerning your municipality. If you have questions, please call Johnnie Meehl at 624-7650.

Training area: Introduction to Windows, Internet Explorer, Internet basics. This course teaches the Microsoft Windows operating system and related software. It also provides an introductory overview of how to use the Internet. Track One is available in both a classroom and a self-guided format.

Track Two Training begins within a week of a municipality going online with the CVR.

This training is required for all users.

Training area: Functions of the CVR and ElectioNet software. A hands-on training class will teach: how information is entered into the system; how information is changed; how information is retrieved; how elections are managed; and how reports are generated. A classroom setting is used for this training.

Municipalities will implement the CVR on a rolling schedule, not all at the same time. Thus Track Two training will depend on when a particular municipality goes “live,” which ranges from September to December 2005. As soon as the final rollout schedule is confirmed, we will contact each municipality.


Data Conversion & Voter Card Imaging

Data Conversion: Over 400 municipalities maintain some or all of their voter registration information electronically using a variety of software packages and formats. The CVR Data Conversion Team is reviewing the first copy of data provided by each town. This first data review is used to test and refine the process and to identify potential data issues. The team is providing reports to each municipality regarding any potential issues for their data. The reports include instructions and a deadline for making corrections and providing a second copy of voter registration information to the vendor. Additional instructions for the second copy of information may be provided based on lessons learned as we proceed through the first cycle. If your municipality maintains electronic voter registration information, please review your reports and follow the instructions to address any possible errors as soon as possible, so we can keep on schedule.

Municipalities with little or no electronic voter registration information will have their data entered into the CVR by the State’s vendor. The information will be obtained from the scanned images of your voter registration cards. This imaging and data entry will take place prior to usage of the CVR by municipalities.

Imaging: Electronic imaging of voter registration cards is another part of the CVR Data Conversion effort. The Data Conversion Team will be contacting municipalities in the coming weeks to schedule a time to visit and electronically scan your cards. The scanning of voter registration cards will be a lengthy process because every municipality in the state will be visited. This process will start in July and continue through the end of this year.

Please note: We will request some help from municipal officials in preparing the cards for imaging. Originally we did not anticipate that municipal officials would need to do any work prior to the imaging effort. But after a recent visit to a municipality and going through the process of imaging all of the voter registration cards, we realize that the process can be streamlined and much more accurate with some advance preparation of the voter cards by municipal election officials. We will be sending out information and instructions for this card preparation as soon as possible so you can plan accordingly. This communication will provide information about when you may expect to be scheduled for this imaging effort. Municipalities scheduled first may receive the instructions via a telephone conversation to allow as much lead time as possible.

If you have questions about Data Conversion or Voter Card Imaging, please call the CVR Team at 624-7650.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

Q. If we are only going to use the CVR equipment for the CVR, do we need our own internet/e-mail usage policy?

A. Our Agreement Governing the Use of Computer Equipment does require municipalities to have a policy in place governing the use of the internet and e-mail by their employees if the CVR equipment or software is going to be available to employees for such uses. Since the CVR software requires connection to the internet you should anticipate that employees will use the internet and e-mail for other purposes and therefore should have a written policy for internet and e-mail usage.

Q. What should I do if I’m not sure I should receive the Track One training? I have some experience with computers but feel I may benefit from the training.

A. The Track One training will be a very basic introduction to PC proficiency. Since our target audience is those individuals with no computer experience, the training agenda will not include instruction on functions that are not necessary to prepare a person for Track Two training. We intend to keep to the basics so that new users are not overwhelmed and can easily absorb the required information.


Questions about CVR or HAVA?

Website: www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/hava/
E-mail: sos.office@maine.gov

Phone: 624-7650 (Elections Division)