A well-managed voter registration system is vital for ensuring public confidence in elections. In 2002, Congress sought to make these disparate efforts more uniform by passing the Help America Vote Act, which required that each state have a computerized statewide voter registration database (VRD). In implementing this mandate, state and local governments still have differing approaches, but it is clear that information technology underpins each of their efforts. While technology will help election officials manage this complex system, it also creates new risks that must be addressed. USACM recommends that when creating, managing and using statewide voter registration databases, states must take care to ensure accuracy, privacy, usability, security, and reliability of the electronic poll books and the database information. Besides ensuring that the policies and practices of VRDs are transparent to the public, states need to establish strategies and procedures for database management, a plan for the possibility of VRD failure on Election Day, and audit trails and other accountability measures to let the voters trust the VRD.
USACM commissioned a study on issues related to statewide voter registration databases. The study outlined the characteristics that a statewide voter registration database would have. It includes a series of 99 recommendations related to accuracy, privacy, usability, security, and reliability.
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