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PRESS RELEASE & ATTACHED STATEMENT

For Immediate Release
December 12, 2003
For more information, contact Kevin Tyne at (602) 542-0681

Sec. of State Announces New Voting System Action Plan to be Formulated

Brewer Strives for Improved Election Administration and Building more Confidence in Elections

PHOENIX – Secretary of State Jan Brewer announced today she will lead a new effort to formulate a voting system action plan that will address statewide voting systems and technology.  The plan specifically calls for new voting system guidelines, increased sharing of information among election offices, and annual reviews to enhance election certification policies and standards.

In a statement released by Secretary Brewer, she noted, “I remain highly confident that Arizona’s statewide election process…is as accurate and reliable as any jurisdiction in the country.”  Secretary Brewer added, “Today, I am announcing the formulation of a new Arizona Voting System Action Plan as part of my ongoing commitment to ensure integrity in our election process.”

Some initial factors to be considered as part of Secretary Brewer’s plan include:

·         Introduce formal State voting system security guidelines that incorporate state and federal standards as well as industry best practices;

·         Establish (semi-annual) post-election committee meetings among state and county election officers to identify and recommend voting system process improvements;

·         Increase the sharing of information amongst election offices that share similar voting equipment with the establishment of voting system user groups (including vendors and local jurisdictions);

·         Create a semi-annual forum hosted by the Secretary of State’s office amongst state, county, and local voting system experts to address voting system improvements;

·         Provide formal security awareness information, training, education, and procedures within the election workforce;

·         Review and enhance current State certification policies and standards for voting equipment and software including:

o        Accreditation guidelines.

o        Incorporate recommendations from the current State Certification Committee.

o        Review other state and local jurisdiction best practices for voting system certifications.

The Secretary of State’s office will seek an outside and independent consulting firm which specializes in election technology to help formulate this plan with considerable input from local county and city election offices, outside election experts, and the general public.

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Statement by Secretary of State Janice K. Brewer

Announcing Formulation of

AZ Secretary of State Voting System Action Plan

In light of recent nationwide attention regarding voting systems, I feel compelled to bring the voters of Arizona up to speed on ways our state, counties, and cities are working to ensure integrity in our overall election process.

I remain highly confident that Arizona’s statewide election process – including all of our procedures, rules, training of workers, equipment testing, management and tabulation – is as accurate and reliable as any jurisdiction in the country.  We have some of the most dedicated and honest election workers who continue to build public confidence, make certain that votes are properly counted, and ensure integrity in our election process. 

Over the past year, my office has moved forward to ensure that all Arizonans are voting on equipment that minimizes the possibility of accidental overvotes and other voting controversies as discovered in the 2000 Presidential elections in Florida.  We recently adopted new voting system standards for all election workers to use as part of our State Procedures Manual.  We also procured optical scan voting technology for those nine counties still using punch card voting systems, thus ridding our state of antiquated machines that previously may have led to “pregnant or hanging chads.”

This past year, my office introduced the first requirement ever in Arizona Revised Statute that voting equipment receives full testing and certification by a federally accredited laboratory pursuant to the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA).

Today I am announcing the formulation of a new Arizona Voting System Action plan as part of my ongoing commitment to ensure integrity in our election process.  This is my direct attempt to continually strive for improved election administration and build even more confidence in the accuracy and reliability of our election processes here in Arizona.

Over the next few months, my office will work with an outside and independent consulting firm which specializes in election technology to consider several key issues for inclusion in this new plan.  We intend to compile a well thought out plan that incorporates input from local county and cities, election experts, and the general public.

Some initial considerations for my new plan include:

·        Introduce formal State voting system security guidelines that incorporates state and federal standards as well as industry best practices

·        ;Establish semi-annual post-election committee meetings among state and county election officers to identify and recommend voting system process improvements.

·        Increase the sharing of information amongst election offices that share similar voting equipment with the establishment of voting system user groups (including vendors and local jurisdictions).

·        Create a semi-annual forum hosted by the Secretary of State’s office amongst state, county, and local voting system experts to address voting system improvements.

·        Provide formal security awareness information, training, education, and procedures within the election workforce;

·        Review and enhance current State certification policies and standards for voting equipment and software including:

o       Accreditation guidelines.

o       Incorporate recommendations from the current State Certification Committee.

o       Review other state and local jurisdiction best practices for voting system certifications.

·        Review and incorporate recommendations from the Federal Election Assistance Commission and Standards Boards.

·        Provide a public forum to discuss and enhance the findings of the Voting System Action Plan.

 

It is my hope that this action plan will be helpful to our election process by developing solutions and providing solid building blocks toward a strong statewide voting system process.  I truly believe the formulation of this plan will positively enhance our state’s overall electoral process.

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