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Voter Registration Goes High Tech

New online system through the California Secretary of State's office will speed up the process of registering and help reduce human errors.

Bay City News—Registering to vote is catching up to the 21st century with new software to create an online registration system making its way to county election offices statewide Friday.

The software to set up a link on election home pages was sent to county offices Friday and online access is expected to be available by early September, in time for the Oct. 22 registration deadline for the Nov. 6 presidential election, state Sen. Leland Yee's, D-San Mateo/San Francisco, spokesman Adam Keigwin said.

The online registration system was put into place following passage of Yee's bill last fall. The law now mandates that the state recognize online registration as a legal method of registering to vote.

The status quo required constituents fill out a paper form --which will still be available -- but drew ire from many voters and election offices, Keigwin said.

The online system, which will be coordinated through the California Secretary of State's office, expects to offer less paper printing and less time transferring voter information into the system for election staffers.

"It's a lot easier to use," Keigwin said. "When you type in your own name, you spell it correctly."

Other human errors, many stemming from messy handwriting, will no longer be an issue, and hopefully will ameliorate registration problems on Election Day, Keigwin said.

Online registration is also expected to save election offices money, something San Mateo County Elections Office election manager David Tom agrees with.

"It will have many, many benefits," Tom said, including savings from lower labor costs and a more streamlined system.

"It will save us keystrokes," Tom said. Often, election staff "have to 'translate' what was written."

What do you think about the new online system? Patch us your comments in the comments section below.

Jaan Carter August 28, 2012 at 04:37 PM
I can see the benefits of this, sure. I can also see the wide channel being opened for all sorts of manipulations and (undetectable?) tampering. Perhaps we can make the registration workable, if everyone has actual access... What really worries me is the idea that we will vote online, and do away with the paper ballot. That, to me, would be so incredibly foolish... There's nothing so reassuring as tangible proof.
Marla bodi August 28, 2012 at 07:43 PM
I completely agree with Jaan Carter's comments. The recent "hacking" of Wired Magazine's columnist Mat Honan was what's called "social hacking" (among other terms) and happened through phone calls and the astute observations of two 19-year-olds. Honan's entire digital life was erased. If it's that easy (and it is), then how would Extenuating Circumstances be handled with online voting? There has to be a method in place that absolutely assures security and accuracy. Right now, aside from the reassurance that paper ballots afford, they also offer a way to substantiate votes. Digital? Not so much. Even with hanging chads, sleepy or irresponsible counters (esp. in the case of recounts), or any other (hopefully) infrequent situations, it's easier to confirm votes. And one last thing: Has anyone ever noticed how Convenience usually screws up something else that's valuable and not worth the risk of losing? I'm all for making it easier and more accurate, but perhaps this needs to be looked at from several more angles --by folks who know all the ins and outs-- before it's locked in place and built upon. I'm just sayin'.
Jaan Carter August 28, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Well said, Marla. And it's my opinion that "convenient" is code for "dangerous."
TaterSalad September 02, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Liberal moonbats are so clueless on what Barack Obama is doing that they will lite candles before bedtime and kiss his faded poster on the wall. http://weaselzippers.us/2012/09/01/poll-number-of-americans-who-consider-themselves-republicans-hits-record-high/
Jaan Carter September 02, 2012 at 03:01 AM
Oh, what would life be without the token troll? Far more pleasant, I'm sure. Pretty interesting comment, Tater, in the sense that nobody said anything about Obama. But that's black & white thinking for you, I suppose. At least some of us have the guts to use our names.

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