Phoenix - Arizona was the first state to introduce online voter registration. 15 years later, the Grand Canyon State is poised to make history again as the state’s election and voter registration administrators come together to build a new system that dramatically improves its security, accuracy, and efficiency for the next decade.
State and federal law require Arizona to hold a single, centralized, interactive statewide list that includes all voter registration information. Currently, Arizona operates VRAZ-II, an aging platform which reached its peak use in the late 1990’s.
Gartner Consulting, a leading technology research and consulting company was selected by Secretary of State Michele Reagan to conduct comprehensive interviews with local election and voter registration personnel to understand procedures, identify pain points and discuss best practices.
After six months of research on the current state and future needs of a statewide registration database, Secretary Reagan has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the development of the Access Voter Information Database (AVID). The new platform will incorporate state and local suggestions and major enhancements to the state’s voter registration system.
“We all see this as an exciting opportunity to further secure our registration data and make needed improvements to a cumbersome and outdated system,” said Secretary Reagan. “Once we receive the proposals, our counties will be able to determine which solution works best for them moving forward.”
While the aging technology has been deemed to be safe, experts have advised Arizona to begin the process of developing a new system with the expiration of the current contract in June. Among a number of other requested improvements, AVID will make use of new technologies to safeguard data, minimize the number of duplicate registrations and ensure updates occur in real-time.
“If anything reminded us we must take advantage of new technologies to insure the integrity of our election data, it was last year’s attack on our own registration system,” continued the Secretary. “When our online database was created cybersecurity was an afterthought. Now, faced with international threats, we must have a system that implements strong protections and the highest level of security capabilities to protect voter data.”
The comprehensive review of state and local administrative procedures revealed a number of areas where the implementation of AVID will greatly improve registration processes at the county level.
Nearly universal among the issues raised by county election personnel was limited staff resources to perform laborious manual processes and having to create work-arounds within the system to perform routine tasks. While the number of voters continues to increase, technological advancements over the last ten years will provide simplified and efficient daily processing of voter registrations and alleviate workload concerns with the implementation of AVID.
The AVID scope of work also includes the ability to provide precinct-based and centralized polling places, Real-Time Pollbooks, GIS capabilities and flexibility for growth and scalability.
“We’re hopeful to find a solution that meets the needs of today’s election administrators,” Reagan said. “Arizona has been a leader in making it easy to register and the time has come to build on that tradition. We’re excited about a future that makes the process even more secure and efficient.”