The Sacramento Bee


Colo. scraps computer voter registration


By STEVEN K. PAULSON, Associated Press Writer

December 1, 2005


DENVER (AP) - Colorado pulled the plug Wednesday on its problem-plagued voter registration computer system and will miss a Jan. 1 federal deadline for having it up and running.


Dana Williams, a spokeswoman for Colorado's secretary of state, said the system had trouble registering voters and other problems. She said a letter was sent to the data-processing company Accenture canceling the $10.5 million contract.


The state has already spent $1.5 million on the system, she said.


"When we saw these problems, we decided we were not going to throw good money after bad. We're going to get this fixed as soon as we can," Williams said.


The Help America Vote Act of 2002 requires states to have statewide voter registration systems in place by Jan. 1.


Federal officials won't seek to take over the elections of states that miss the deadline, "but we could seek an order from a federal court to comply," said Justice Department spokesman Eric Holland.


Accenture spokesman James McAvoy said the system could have been operating by the deadline had Colorado not scrapped the deal. He blamed the state for key delays, including decisions on software and hardware and giving Accenture access to information.


Earlier this year, Florida canceled its $2.3 million contract with Accenture after accusing the company of creating a flawed database of felons and dead voters. Wisconsin and Pennsylvania also have reported problems with Accenture election systems.


In Colorado, Adams County Clerk Carol Snyder said the state tried to do too much at one time, setting up a system that would update computers automatically from all agencies involved in elections, from county clerks to the Corrections Department.


Williams said the state may have to settle for a smaller system that would require county clerks and state agencies to submit information on voter registration once a day.


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