Ellick Hsu, elections deputy for the Secretary of State's Office, helps explain the new statewide voter registration system being put into place by elections clerks across the state.
What is the purpose of the statewide voter system now being created in Nevada?
This is going to centralize all the local county voter registration databases. The importance of that is we're going to be able to get accurate voter lists throughout the state, track candidates, voters and poll workers. It's important for the integrity of the lists and to help prevent voter fraud. The federal government ordered it in HAVA (the Help America Vote Act) after the problems that occurred in Florida.
How are those lists kept now?
They're kept by the individual county clerks. The problem is when somebody moves from one county to another, they have to make phone calls to confirm the voter's identity. There could be duplication, inaccuracies.
Clerks have expressed some concern about the project. What are those concerns?
Not all the counties have a comfort level yet. They're going from something they know is reliable to something unknown, so there is some resistance. Something that may be important to one county may not be important to another. That's why we're trying to reach out, get them to see the application and get some feedback. They're the ones who are going to be using the system. It has to work for them. Some of the things we're seeing are efficiency issues comparing the new system with their existing systems.
How many counties have seen the system and what's their reaction?
We previewed it for Elko, Carson City and Washoe County. After they saw how it works, they're still concerned, but there's more of a comfort level. It's a matter of actually showing them. We're going to take it to other counties too.
What will change for the voters once a statewide registration system is in place?
It will provide a centralized record of voters statewide. If someone moves from one place to another, it will track that so it will provide a more accurate voter list. It would also show if someone was registered in more than one place or voted twice. It also helps confirm a voter's identity. When you register at the clerk's office, for example, it automatically sends to DMV to confirm identity.
When does the system start?
The deadline is Jan. 1. We should have most of the counties on by then. The exceptions may be Clark and Washoe because of their size. They have some special issues the others don't face, so they may take a week or two longer. But the contractor is working 24/7 to get the system up and running.