Maine Enters into HAVA Requirement Agreement with Justice

The State of Maine has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department over its efforts to meet the timelines and requirements of HAVA. The link above takes you to the full release. In part, it notes that:

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap announced on Friday that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has accepted Maine’s plan to implement the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002. The plan includes timelines for meeting requirements, such as the statewide implementation of a Central Voter Registration (CVR) system and an Accessible Voting Solution (AVS) to help individuals with disabilities vote with privacy and independence.

Although many HAVA provisions have already been carried out in Maine including provisional voting, an administrative complaint procedure, new voter registration applications, and new voting system standards with a uniform definition of what constitutes a vote, the Justice Department is seeking through a consent decree to support the state’s efforts to fully comply with HAVA by the November 7, 2006 General Election.

For those of you who have never been there, Maine has numerous little cities and a very community-oriented culture. (Full disclosure, I was born there). This excerpt from the state’s release illustrates how difficult it is to move from a localized voter registration system to a statewide system in a state like Maine.

The creation of this system requires moving approximately one million voter registration records from more than 500 municipalities into a single system. Until now, those records have been maintained with care on the local level—but in a great variety of ways. In many cases, the records are on cards or paper lists, sometimes maintained in the home of the municipal voter registrar.