June 18, 2008 By News Report
The Election Technology Council, an industry trade association representing providers of over 90 percent of the voting systems used in the United States, today issued a bleak assessment of the current state of the federal regulatory process administered by the United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and called for significant reforms to better serve election officials and voters. Since February 2007, no voting system has achieved federal certification through the EAC. Since 2002, the standards have not changed, only the certifying agency.
"The industry is participating in and financing a process that remains indefinite in both time and money," said David Beirne, executive director of the ETC.
The industry's assessment describes a new federal agency that finds itself a victim of its own decisions which have effectively shut the regulated industry out and left it without a voice in the process. Among the key problems identified:
Under the Help America Vote Act of 2002, the EAC is charged with adopting federal voting system standards. Both the federal standards and the federal certification process remain voluntary for each of the states. An estimated 40 states require some level of testing or certification against federal voting system standards. "In such a voluntary framework, the EAC would be better served by working with industry in its efforts to develop robust voting solutions. We respect the hard work and commitment of the EAC in grappling with these difficult issues, and we look forward to working cooperatively with the Commission in every way we can. However, the system cannot sustain itself in its current form without substantial reform," Beirne added.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.