Thursday, July 26, 2012

LIPA’s Michael Deering discusses its new feed-in tariff program

Michael Deering, Vice President of Environmental Affairs at the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), talks about that utility’s recently-introduced 50 MW feed-in tariff program, recorded from Uniondale, Long Island, New York, on July 26, 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

Shane Hamlin at Washington State OSOS talks about online voter registration

Shane Hamlin, co-director of elections in the Washington State Office of the Secretary of State, talks about that state’s online voter registration (OLVR) system, the use of OLVR in other states, and a newly-created system for checking for cross-registration across multiple states, recorded from Olympia, Washington, on July 13, 2012.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

California Secretary of State promises online voter registration by Labor Day

The California Secretary of State confirmed in an e-mail sent late this afternoon (July 5, 2012) to Etopia News that California citizens will soon be able to register online to vote, writing:

“The Secretary of State’s office is coordinating with the State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the counties’ election management system vendors to develop the interface that will connect counties and the DMV.  This will allow for online voter registration.  We expect *full online voter registration to be available by Labor Day.  As always, voter registration records are maintained at the county level.

“* People can already fill out the Secretary of State’s online voter registration form at then just print, sign and mail it. (The form is even pre-addressed to the registrant’s county elections office.) “

California counties are waiting for software from the Secretary of State to proceed with online voter registration

Election officials in several California counties today told Etopia News that they are planning to offer online voter registration to their citizens, as soon as the requisite software from the California Secretary of State’s office is available.

Their views differed on when that would be, ranging from before “mid-August” to “October.”

Orange County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley said that the anticipated online voter registration system would be an “interim fix” that would “not need the VoteCal system” in order to work.  The VoteCal system is a state-wide voter registration data base required under the federal Help America Vote Act that is not expected to be in place until 2015.

Mr. Kelley said that the software needed to implement the process was already in “the testing phase” and could be ready to go by “mid-August, or sooner.”

He said that the online voter registration would be offered through the Secretary of State’s website and that Orange County citizens could use it “as soon as the state finishes the programming.”

This view was shared by Ventura County Registrar of Voters Mark Lunn, who said that “the Secretary of State is the mothership” in the process.  “We’re on-track to comply.  We want to do it.  We’re on track to implement it.  The counties have to be plugged in.  We’re ready to go as soon as the Secretary of State is ready to implement.”

Elma Rosas, spokesperson for the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters says the system should be “ready-to-go in September or October.”  She said that Santa Clara would proceed “as soon as the infrastructure is in place.”

Melvin Briones, Assistant Registrar of Voters in Marin County, also said his department was “waiting for the Secretary of State.”

Rebecca Spencer, Assistant Registrar of Voters in Riverside County, said that “the Secretary of State is taking the lead” on the online voter registration process and that that office expects the system to “go live in September, 2012.”

Cecilia Gomez Reyes, spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder, originally told Etopia News that she expected the system to be up and running by August, but then modified her view to say that she now expected it to go live in September, 2012.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

County-based online voter registration expected in California by August, 2012

A plan to allow California citizens to register to vote online hit a big bump in the road back in August of 2010, when Secretary of State Debra Bowen cancelled a contract with Catalyst Consulting Group to build the VoteCal database needed to make online registration possible.

A February 17, 2011 article in the San Jose Mercury reported that the “’VoteCal’ statewide online database system [is] now delayed at least until 2015.”

Shannan Velayas, spokesperson for the California Secretary of State’s Office, wrote in an July 2, 2012, e-mail to Etopia News that:

 “VoteCal is currently in the procurement stage of the process.  Of course, the project is following the standard state process and there will be more information to provide once a contract is awarded.”
Nevertheless, Californians ought to be able to register to vote online on a county-by-county basis by August, 2012, thanks to legislation introduced by California State Senator Leland Yee (SB 397) and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on October 7, 2011.

This legislation was strongly supported by California Common Cause, and is expected by them to encourage the political participation of Internet-savvy and younger citizens.

Adam Keigwin, Senator Yee’s chief of staff, says he expects the system to be available in “late August.”

Cecilia Gomez Reyes, spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, also said that the program allowing online voter registration should be operating in that jurisdiction by August, 2012.

Being able to register new voters online, or to persuade already-registered voters to change their party affiliation online, ought to provide a boost to the state’s nascent California Pirate Party, which has initiated a campaign to register 104,000 voters as members of that group in order to qualify as an officially-registered political party under California law.