The TotalVote comprehensive voter database got its first statewide test in the primary election June 3. Whether it succeeded depends on whom you talk to. While reported problems seem roughly proportional to the size of the counties using it, Minnehaha County Commissioners heard enough tales of voters being directed to the wrong precincts in the low-turnout primary to spark concern about how TotalVote will perform in the November general election, when turnout is expected to be much higher. Getting the election right is a sobering responsibility for public officials. The effect, for them, of heading toward the general election with potentially unresolved TotalVote issues might be summer dreams haunted by apocalyptic visions along the lines of Supreme Court justices peering owlishly at hanging chads and banana republic dictators winning elections by margins greater than 100 percent.
“TotalVote will be an awesome deal when it gets finished,” says Minnehaha County Auditor Bob Litz of the database that is South Dakota’s latest effort to comply with a 2002 Help America Vote Act provision that voter registration information be kept in centralized, computerized, interactive state databases rather than in separate county files.
TotalVote will give election officials a precise, secure handle on voter registration information and voting history that can be accessed across a broad spectrum quickly, Litz said. But it is not yet flawless, and its shortcomings included fouling up Minnehaha County’s voter information.
“In 2012, we didn’t hear any of this stuff, nothing,” Litz said of reports of misdirected voters. “Our primary difference between now and then is we migrated all our good information to the poll books. We got it back jumbled. “We handed it off to TotalVote; a lot of it came back juxtaposed.”
Full Article: State, counties find bumps, success in voter system.