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Q & A's

August 2005 Issue

Q. Many of my voter registration cards are missing information, including signatures, and many contain old address information as a result of E-911 conversion. Do I need to have voters complete new cards prior to imaging?

A. No. If you have missing information on your voter cards, you will not be required to get that information prior to using the CVR. Of course any missing information that you are able to obtain from voters, including a signature, will be helpful going forward to ensure we are able to keep the CVR clean of duplicate voters and utilize all available functionality of the system. While you may seek additional information from voters, currently registered voters cannot be removed from the voting list for failing to provide additional information. In addition, if you have inaccurate address information as a result of an E-911 conversion you do not need to update the voter cards with current address information. However, after going live on the system, paper-based municipalities (those that are not providing an electronic copy of voter registration data via eHarbor or on disk) will need to update the CVR database with current address information for voters whose address information is not current on the voter registration cards at the time of imaging.

Q. Why is the state providing computer equipment for all municipalities, even to those municipalities with adequate computer equipment currently in place?

A. The State has to make sure that everyone, from a city the size of Portland down to the smallest plantation in the State will have the ability to access their data. That is over 500 locations, all with different types of hardware, software, and access to the internet. It is only in standardizing the equipment that we can ensure that we will be able to answer questions, troubleshoot hardware and software issues and provide access to the data.

Q. I submitted electronic voter data and have recently received notification that my initial data conversion reports are ready. What should I do now?

A. First, if you have not done so already, please carefully read the instructions which contain useful tips on how to make corrections as easily as possible. Second, make any corrections you can in your current voter registration system. Third, follow the instructions to post comments on any issues highlighted in the reports that you cannot resolve in your system. Fourth, as soon as you complete making changes and comments, provide the Data Conversion team a new copy of your entire voter registration list following the same instructions you used to provide the data the first time.

Q. If I have sent an electronic copy of my voter registration data to the state for data conversion, should I continue to make changes or updates to my voter list in my current system?

A. Yes, you should continue to maintain your list in its current system until the CVR is fully online in your municipality. During the data conversion process, municipalities that keep electronic voter registration data will be asked to submit their data a total of three times. The third submission of your data, to take place this fall, should reflect the most current data at that time and will be loaded into the new CVR database. After that submission of your data, you should flag any new registrations and changes so you can add those to the CVR once you are connected. Within a short time of providing your third submission of data, your municipal clerk and registrar will receive training and will then be connected to the CVR, which you will use for all voter registration and absentee ballot processes from that point forward. Until your municipality is connected to the CVR, you are responsible for providing voter registration information and lists from your current system as required by law.


July 15, 2005

Q. Regarding the Imaging effort, many of my voter cads do not have current address information due to E-911 conversion. Do I need to go through all my voter cards and write the current address information on cards?

A. No, you do not need to update voter cards with address information that is not current due to an E-911 conversion. However, municipalities that do not have voter information available for electronic data conversion (previously referred to as 'paper-based voter registration data') will have to update any addresses that are not current in the CVR after the municipality is online with the system.


July 2005 Issue

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.


June 2005 Issue

Q. What are the principal benefits of the Central Voter Registration System (CVR) for municipalities?

A. The CVR will:

Enable immediate real-time Internet connection and electronic access to a central system.
Ensure that municipal officials maintain the authority to add and delete registered voters within their jurisdictions.
Provide verification and query capabilities with other municipalities and State agency data.
Accommodate electronic signature image storage and retrieval.
Prevent unauthorized access.
Provide library management, absentee ballot processing, ongoing administration, pre-election preparation, and petition certification.
Allow more comprehensive reporting and online inquiry capabilities.

Q. Since the State is providing a computer to use the Central Voter Registration System (CVR), will this be the only computer that I can use to access the system?

A. Because the CVR is a web-based system, you can use any computer with a currently supported Internet browser to gain access. However, some versions of Internet Explorer may not support the application. The State-provided equipment will have everything needed to support the CVR software and the external hardware, such as the printer, scanner and bar code reader. They will all be configured and connected to the State-provided computer. Activities within the CVR requiring the use of the external hardware items will need to be done using this computer.

Q. What equipment will be provided to municipalities for use with the CVR?

A. The State will deliver: (1) A desktop computer with an Intel Pentium 4 Processor and Windows XP Operating System. This includes a flat-panel monitor, 40 GB hard drive, CD drive, floppy disk drive, modem, MS Office, and anti-virus software; (2) a printer; (3) an image scanner; (4) depending on the size of the voter list, barcode scanners and label printers may be provided.

Q . Can we connect the State-provided computer to our municipal Local Area Network (LAN)?

A. Your municipality has the option to network your State-provided CVR computer, as long as it does not interfere with the performance of CVR duties. If you have a LAN, connecting this machine is permitted, but it should not be used to provide other LAN-based services (e.g. print, file, etc.).

Q. My municipality is coordinating the summer vacations of its staff. What should we do if we can't attend CVR training?

A. There will be multiple sessions of training in different regions. The State Training Coordinator will work with each municipality to discuss the training schedule and find an appropriate date for training. If you have any concerns about scheduling, please contact us so we can assess your needs and accommodate your schedule.


May 2005 Issue

Q. If I have sent an electronic copy of my voter registration data to the state for data conversion, should I continue to make changes or updates to my voter list in my current system?

A. Yes, you should continue to maintain your list in its current system until the CVR is fully online in your municipality. During the data conversion process, municipalities that keep electronic voter registration data will be asked to submit their data a total of three times. The third submission of your data, to take place this fall, should reflect the most current data at that time and will be loaded into the new CVR database. Within a short time of providing your third submission of data, your municipal clerk and registrar will receive training and will then be connected to the CVR, which you will use for all voter registration and absentee ballot processes from that point forward. Until your municipality is connected to the CVR, you are responsible for providing voter registration information and lists from your current system as required by law.

Q. Many of my voter registration application cards are old and may be missing information, even signatures. Do I need to have those voters complete new registration applications?

A. No. If you have missing information on your voter cards, you will not be required to get that information prior to using the CVR. Reports issued to the municipalities during the data conversion process will help identify missing information, and will list steps that may be taken to try to obtain that information. Of course any missing information that you are able to obtain from voters, including a signature, will be helpful going forward to ensure we are able to keep the CVR clean of duplicate voters and utilize all available functionality of the system. While you may seek additional information from voters, currently registered voters cannot be removed from the voting list for failing to provide additional information.

Q. Since the State is providing computer equipment for the CVR, will this be the only computer that I can use to access the system?

A. The answer is yes and no. You can use any computer with a currently supported Internet browser to gain access to the CVR since it is a web-based application. However, some versions of Internet Explorer may not support the application. Also, your external hardware, such as the printer, scanner and bar code reader will all be configured and connected to the State-provided computer. Activities within the CVR requiring the use of these items will need to be done using this computer.

Q. I’m still not completely clear about the Internet connection to the CVR. What kind of connection does our municipality need?

A. If your municipality currently has a broadband Internet connection (for example DSL or cable), you will be able to use the CVR. If you do not have broadband, the State will determine if your connection is adequate. For those municipalities that do not currently have Internet access, or that have an inadequate connection, the State will ensure that you have the connection you need to access the CVR. The number of voters in your municipality will determine the type of Internet connection that will be needed. Some communities will only require a dial-up connection to the Internet, while the larger municipalities will require a higher speed connection. The State is researching options to ensure that you will have the proper Internet connection needed for your voter population.


April 2005 Issue

Q. Should I conduct a purge of my voter list now, before the data conversion process?

A. It is not necessary to conduct a purge of your voter list prior to the data conversion process. During the data conversion phases and prior to statewide implementation, the consolidated statewide list will be reviewed for removal of duplicate and deceased voters. However, any clean up of your list prior to the conversion process will reduce the amount of voter records you will need to reconcile during data conversion.

Q. Will the State be conducting the purge process after the system is in place?

A. The State may utilize the National Change of Address (NCOA) program to start the purge process. It has not yet determined how much of the process might be done at the State level before handing off final determination of voter disposition to the municipal officials. Municipalities may need to conduct targeted mailing purges for their own voters, but with a central system we anticipate a much cleaner list.

Q. What are DREs?

A. DREs, or direct recording electronic voting machines, are one type of accessible voting equipment. HAVA requires at least one DRE or other type of accessible voting equipment at each polling location. The State plans to centrally purchase the necessary equipment. Municipalities will not need to purchase the equipment, and will receive additional information about this topic in the coming months.


March 2005 Issue

Q. Why is Maine creating a Central Voter Registration system (CVR)?

A. The Federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) and State law require that by January 1, 2006 we implement a central, computerized, statewide voter registration system. These laws require the Secretary of State to create the CVR to improve the integrity, reliability and accuracy of voter registration information and maintain uniform procedures statewide.

Q. How much will it cost municipalities?

A. The State does not plan to charge a fee to municipalities for access or maintenance of the system. Maine intends to use federal HAVA funds to develop the CVR and to provide every municipality with the equipment necessary to run this application.

Q. How will our town be connected?

A. Each municipality will use either their current Internet Service Provider (ISP) or the State will assist you in obtaining Internet access. We will work with each municipality to enable you to use the system.

Q. How will our voter registration information be moved to the CVR?

A. We will undertake a data conversion process by which we will obtain the voter registration information for each municipality and convert it into the fields and format required by the CVR. The converted data will then be sent back to each municipality for review and verification. This exchange of data will take place one to three times, depending on the type of voter registration system you have now, to ensure the information is correct and complete. Each municipality will have specific instructions relevant to its particular needs on how to provide the initial set of data for conversion and how to review and verify the data when it is returned.

Q. What kind of training will be offered prior to using the CVR system?

A. We are developing a detailed training strategy and schedule which will address the needs of users with little or no computer experience,as well as those who have a high level of computer experience.

Q. Will I have the same access to my municipality's voter list as I do now?

A. Yes, you will still have access to and authority over the list of voters who are registered in your municipality.

Q. Will municipalities have access to the statewide voter list?

A. Municipal election officials will have access to view the entire statewide voter list, and they will have access to update and report on voter information for their municipality's voters only.

Q. What kind of report functions will the system offer?

A. The CVR system provides an extremely user friendly and comprehensive report module. You will have access to a wide range of search criteria and sort options to meet your reporting needs. Many of the reports you are currently responsible for preparing will be available from a list of pre-formatted reports, and any other information you may need can be extracted from the database for use in other programs to create your own documents.

Q. Will I continue to use my current voter registration system along with the CVR?

A. No, you will not maintain your voter list on two separate systems. The CVR will be the only official list for your voter information.