Arizona's EZ Voter Registration

My posting last week on Rhode Island’s efforts to implement an electronic voter registration process in DMV or AAA locations spawned some email responses. One, from’s Doug Chapin, pointed me to Arizona’s EZ Voter Registration process, which is described in this FAQ. This system is similar to the Rhode Island process, in that it appears to be part of the DMV process (“ServiceArizona”). As the FAQ describes it:

ServiceArizona is an easy way for Arizona residents to take care of Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) business, any time of the day or night, from the comfort of their home or office. Currently, Arizona residents can use ServiceArizona for online Vehicle Registration Renewals, Personalized/Specialty Plates, Fleet Registration Renewals, Address Changes, ordering duplicate Driver Licenses or Identification Cards with or without an address change, Driver License Reinstatement, obtaining a Restricted Use 3-Day Permit, viewing available Plate Credit, Duplicate Vehicle Registration, obtaining a 30-Day General Use Customer Permit, Plate Refund, Vehicle Sold Notice, and for Fleet Application.

And for voter registration!

The major difference relative to the Rhode Island system, is that the Arizona process seems to be one that can be conducted over any Internet connection, as long as the person attempting to register has an Arizona driver license, state ID card, or has already somehow filed a digitized signature with the DMV office.

One of the more interesting claims about the Arizona system is that they are “hard at work on an ongoing basis to keep ServiceArizona one of the most secure websites on the Internet” (on the FAQ page referenced above). The security features mentioned include:

  • “All confidential records are kept locked inside an “electronic vault” protected by IBM’s most advanced security technologies and among the most comprehensive security programs and services in the industry…the IBM Secureway ™ line of products.
  • IBM uses the industry’s standard bearer for electronic commerce to encrypt your credit card number before it ever leaves your computer. This means that your credit card number is kept confidential within the system during and after your use of the system.
  • Professional IBM security specialists have trained IBM’s employees on security procedures. These procedures are checked and double-checked by both the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division and IBM’s security experts on a regular basis.
  • IBM conducts unannounced audits of every security checkpoint up to 50 times a year. This includes a rigorous inspection of IBM technology, procedures, training and personnel.”

From this it sounds pretty clear that the vendor for this system is IBM.

Thanks, Doug, for pointing this system out to me. Given that Arizona has been providing NVRA implementation data for the most recent NVRA study, we will have some data with which to evaluate this process. The comparison between this system and the Rhode Island process will provide an interesting study to determine the effectiveness of these two different models of electronic voter registration. As these two systems appear to have very different system architectures, an analysis of those architectures for usability and security would also be very interesting to undertake.

We’ll keep looking at how states are moving to implement the HAVA statewide voter registration mandates, especially how and whether states are allowing individual citizens or voters to have interactive access to the new databases. Feel free to send along email if you know of other state efforts in this area.