The Sacramento County Voter Registration and Elections Offices was one of the first two counties to go live in California with a new statewide voter registration database, VoteCal, on July 20.
“We are very proud to be one of the first two counties ready to help launch this important project that will provide a single, uniform registration database for California and improve verification of voters by the county registrars,” said Sacramento Registrar of Voters Jill LaVine.
The new VoteCal system is a requirement of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), and will allow voter records to be transferred from county to county and include their preferences, such a voting by mail or at the polls, and their choice of language. Registrars will also be able to check for duplicate voters in other counties and more easily keep voter files updated. Full implementation of VoteCal for all counties will be completed in June 2016.
“Being part of the pilot project means that we will be sharing our experiences with other counties as they transition to VoteCal, so they know what to expect, ” LaVine added.
This was a project of the Secretary of State (SOS), their consultant (CGI) and County staff who processed all the test files, validated/vetted the testing schema for the state and provided direct feedback. Costs are being covered by the by the SOS, and the County will be reimbursed for the staff time that was involved once the system is live. Additional features of the system, from the California Secretary of State website:
• Connecting the Secretary of State and all 58 county elections offices together to improve the voter registration
• Providing a publicly available website which will allow voters to register online
• Providing a single, official statewide database of voter registration information
The remaining counties have been grouped into a series of “waves,” and monthly wave deployments will occur from October 2015 to March 2016. After VoteCal is deployed to all counties and the SOS validates that VoteCal is working correctly, VoteCal will be declared the official system of record for voter registration in the State, most likely in June 2016.
Voters will not see a difference in how they register or vote. A cleaner voter file will be created and when a duplicate voter check is run, it will be with the entire state, not just within Sacramento County.
“Before, we had no way of knowing when a voter died out of county– this system will be statewide and we can cancel the voter record instead of continuing to send information to them,” LaVine added.
Voter records of people who have moved can be transferred rather than the voter having to re –register. Additionally, the office can work more efficiently with the districts (Assembly and Senate) that cross county lines, making it easier for candidates and campaigns. Previously they would have to go the Secretary of State for cross-county information.
“Having a statewide voter registration database will ensure the integrity of the vote; the increase in work level is a part of the validation needed to maintain that integrity,” LaVine added.