2002 Regular Session
To: Elections; Appropriations
By: Senator(s) Bryan
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH THE STATEWIDE CENTRALIZED VOTER SYSTEM TO ASSIST COMMISSIONERS OF ELECTION IN MAINTAINING ACCURATE VOTER ROLLS; TO PROVIDE THAT THE SECRETARY OF STATE SHALL DEVELOP, IMPLEMENT AND ADMINISTER THE SYSTEM; TO PROVIDE THAT THE SECRETARY OF STATE SHALL PROCURE SERVICES NECESSARY TO CONVERT THE CURRENT VOTER REGISTRATION RECORDS OF THE COUNTY INTO A STANDARD, INDUSTRY ACCEPTED FILE FORMAT THAT CAN BE USED ON THE STATEWIDE CENTRALIZED VOTER SYSTEM; TO AUTHORIZE THE SECRETARY OF STATE TO ESTABLISH AN ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO ASSIST IN DEVELOPING SYSTEM SPECIFICATIONS, PROCUREMENT, IMPLEMENTATION AND MAINTENANCE OF THE SYSTEM; TO EXEMPT CERTAIN INFORMATION IN THE SYSTEM FROM THE MISSISSIPPI PUBLIC RECORDS ACT OF 1983; TO REPEAL SECTIONS 23-15-139 AND 23-15-140, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH PROVIDE FOR A STATEWIDE VOTER REGISTRATION RECORD; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The purposes of this act are:
(a) To establish a centralized statewide qualified voter file that consists of all qualified electors who are registered to vote;
(b) To enhance the uniformity of the administration of elections by creating and maintaining a centralized statewide file of qualified voters;
(c) To increase the efficiency and decrease the cost of maintaining voter registration records and implementing the National Voter Registration Act of 1993;
(d) To increase the integrity of the voting process by compiling a single centralized qualified voter file from county voter roll data that will permit the name of each citizen of this state to appear only once;
(e) To apply technology and information gathered by principal executive departments of state government, state agencies and local voter registrars in a manner that ensures that accurate and current records of qualified voters are maintained and to secure cooperation among all state and county entities to develop systems and processes that are interfaced with the Centralized Statewide Voter System; and
(f) To enable the state to receive federal funds which may be available to carry out provisions of this act.
SECTION 2. (1) From and after July 1, 2002, the Office of the Secretary of State, in cooperation with the local registrars and election commissioners, shall begin to procure, implement and maintain an electronic information processing system and programs capable of maintaining a centralized database of all registered voters in the state. The system shall encompass software and hardware, at both the state and county level, software development training, conversion and support and maintenance for the system. This system shall be known as the "Statewide Centralized Voter System" and shall constitute the official record of registered voters in every county of the state.
(2) The Office of the Secretary of State shall develop and implement the Statewide Centralized Voter System so that the registrar and election commissioners of each county shall:
(a) Verify that an applicant that is registering to vote in such county is not registered to vote in another county;
(b) Be notified automatically that a registered voter in its county has registered to vote in another county;
(c) Receive regular reports of death, changes of address and convictions for disenfranchising crimes that apply to voters registered in the county; and
(d) Retain all present functionality related to, but not limited to, the use of voter roll data and to implement such other functionality as the law requires to enhance the maintenance of accurate county voter records and related jury selection and redistricting programs.
(3) As a part of the procurement and implementation of the system, the Office of the Secretary of State shall, with the assistance of the advisory committee, procure services necessary to convert current voter registration records in the counties into a standard, industry accepted file format that can be used on the Statewide Centralized Voter System. Thereafter, all official voter information shall be maintained on the Statewide Centralized Voter System. The standard industry accepted format of data shall be reviewed and approved by a majority of the advisory committee created in subsection (5) of this section after consultation with the Circuit Clerks Association and the format may not be changed without majority approval of the advisory committee and without consulting the Circuit Clerks Association.
(4) The Secretary of State may, with the assistance of the advisory committee, adopt rules and regulations necessary to administer the Statewide Centralized Voter System. Such rules and regulations shall at least:
(a) Provide for the establishment and maintenance of a centralized database for all voter registration information in the state;
(b) Provide procedures for integrating data into the centralized database;
(c) Provide security to insure that only the registrar, or his designee or other appropriate official, as the law may require, can add information to, delete information from and modify information in the system;
(d) Provide the registrar or his designee or other appropriate official, as the law may require, access to the system at all times, including the ability to download copies of the industry standard file, for all purposes related to their official duties, including, but not limited to, exclusive access for the purpose of printing of all local pollbooks;
(e) Provide security and protection of all information in the system and monitor the system to ensure that unauthorized access is not allowed;
(f) Provide a procedure that will allow the registrar, or his designee or other appropriate official, as the law may require, to identify the precinct and subprecinct to which a voter should be assigned; and
(g) Provide a procedure for phasing in or converting existing manual and computerized voter registration systems in counties to the Statewide Centralized Voter System.
(5) The Secretary of State shall establish an advisory committee to assist in developing system specifications, procurement, implementation and maintenance of the Statewide Centralized Voter System. The committee shall include two (2) representatives from the Circuit Clerks Association, appointed by the association; two (2) representatives from the Election Commissioners Association of Mississippi, appointed by the association; one (1) member of the Mississippi Association of Supervisors, or its staff, appointed by the association; the Director of the Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University, or his designee; the Executive Director of the Department of Information Technology Services, or his designee; two (2) persons knowledgeable about elections and information technology appointed by the Secretary of State; and the Secretary of State, who shall serve as the chairman of the advisory committee.
(6) (a) Social security numbers, telephone numbers and date of birth and age information in statewide, district, county and municipal voter registration files shall be exempt from and shall not be subject to inspection, examination, copying or reproduction under the Mississippi Public Records Act of 1983.
(b) Copies of statewide, district, county or municipal voter registration files, excluding social security numbers, telephone numbers and date of birth and age information, shall be provided to any person in accordance with the Mississippi Public Records Act of 1983 at a cost not to exceed the actual cost of production.
SECTION 3. No state funds shall be used for the purchase of computer hardware or software needed to carry out the provisions of this act unless state funds are made available through legislative appropriation. County funds shall not be required to be expended because of this act.
SECTION 4. Sections 23-15-139 and 23-15-140, Mississippi Code of 1972, which provide for a statewide voter registration record, are hereby repealed.
SECTION 5. The Attorney General of the State of Mississippi shall submit this act, immediately upon approval by the Governor, or upon approval by the Legislature subsequent to a veto, to the Attorney General of the United States or to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in accordance with the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.
SECTION 6. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after the date it is effectuated under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.