Thursday, March 23, 2006

If At First You Don't Succeed . . .

On day four of the mock election testing for the new Statewide Voter Registration System there we no errors to report. WISH-TV has been doing a day-by-day blow of the testing process for SVRS. It reports:

For the first time during mock election testing of the state's new voter registration system, things went smoothly in Marion County.The new $10 million system crashed on the first day, and the second day saw errors and delays. On Day Three, Marion County could not print a poll book for its largest precinct. On Day Four, officials from Quest Information Systems, the company that built the database, were on hand in case there were new problems.

For the record, WISH-TV corrected its report on Day Three concerning the inability of SVRS to print a poll book. As it turned out, the problem was with the browser setting on Marion Co.'s computers. Pop-up blockers on another county's computers contibuted to problems with the system as well. WISH-TV also credits Indiana with being the first state to try a mock election of this size and scope. The biggest complaint remaining is that the system's speed isn't what the counties expect of it.

As a person who has experience managing the development and installation of customized computer systems for government clients, the testing and attendant debugging Quest Information Systems has been performing on SVRS is standard protocol. It is nearly impossible to develop a customized application of this size and scope and expect it to run smoothly and without any errors during its first live demonstration. It's good to see that Quest is getting as many of these issues resolved prior to the May primary as it possibly can. Will there be problems with the system on election day? Most certainly. But you can bet that many of those problems will be caused by user error.

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