Indiana Mock Election Testing Statewide Voter File a Success
Contact: AJ Freeney-Ruiz
Indianapolis, IN - Today, the State of Indiana completed the week-long test of its new statewide voter file that helps local election administrators better manage voter rolls so as to reduce duplicates, remove voters who have passed away, and make the election process more accurate and efficient. The goals of the mock election were to test basic registration and election processes, identify any new challenges or concerns that arise during use of the system, afford county users an opportunity to utilize system backups, and to increase user familiarity with the new system.
According to Electionline.org, a nonpartisan group dedicated to reporting on election reform, Indiana is currently the only state to conduct a statewide mock election or other such extensive testing of their state's voter file with more than two-thirds of all Indiana counties participating in the five-day test. A test such as this is designed to uncover kinks, and those uncovered as a result of the testing are consistent with technology projects of this size.
Indiana's ability to conduct a mock election is the direct result of getting the system up and running in all 92 counties before the federally mandated deadline of January 1, 2006 to have such a system online. At last count, a fourth of all states had yet to have any statewide voter file in operation despite this deadline. The types of relatively minor issues encountered during the mock election were anticipated as the state continues to modernize and improve election management throughout all counties in Indiana.
"We do these tests so that we can identify the little things that could cause potentially big problems prior to and on Election Day." Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita said. "For example, our vendor found that some issues encountered in printing poll books could be remedied by simply adjusting a web browser or turning off a pop-up blocker."
In an interview with Indianapolis radio station WXNT this morning, Commissioner Ray Martinez of the federal Election Assistance Commission specifically cited Secretary Rokita's leadership in conducting the mock election. "Indiana has done a terrific job of making sure that all of its leadership and planning has been carried out in a manner that they are now in a position to be able to test in a mock election what the glitches are and to make sure that the glitches are taken care of before a real election is going on - before there can be actual problems with somebody being able to vote in a real election," Martinez said.
As a result of having all voter records in one location with direct links to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Department of Health, Department of Corrections and the Social Security Administration, Indiana's voter file has uncovered some impressive statistics. Of the 4,333,360 voter records on file in Indiana, the new voter file system has identified 290,522 possible duplicate registrations, 28,845 potential matches for deceased voters as well as 5,645 incarcerated voters who are by law ineligible to vote.
"While no electronic system or human process can guarantee a flawless election," Rokita said, "I take great pride in the fact that Indiana had the foresight and courage to perform such a comprehensive test, especially since we are the only state to have done so in such an extensive manner."
Key Statistics from Mock Election Test
Statistics taken from various one-hour phases of the five-day test
- Counties were able to conduct more than 9,000 voter database searches with a 99.8% success rate
- Counties processed more than 1,300 absentee ballots
- Counties added, updated or transferred more than 6,400 voter registration transactions
- Counties were able to generate accurate poll books containing names of 188,000 voters for 64 counties and 148 precincts
Key Benefits from Mock Election Test
- The state was able to validate that the system can facilitate an abnormally high volume of simultaneous statewide searches
- The state's vendor is generating new procedures for certain voter record searches because it was able to identify certain query parameters that resulted in a very small percentage of longer search times.
- The state's vendor was able to identify and remedy issues with certain internet web browsers and internet pop-up blockers that resulted in delays in printing poll books in two counties.
- Provided real-world training to county officials to simulate post election duties including the processing and posting of provisional vote history and the processing of poll books to update voter history.
- Provided election officials with real-world applications of several features previously unavailable to most counties prior to the creation and implementation of the statewide voter file. These include hundreds of possible searches to locate voter records, the ability to download and print poll books without having to outsource the work, the ability update voter records uniformly using standards for addresses set forth by the United States Postal Service.