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Program C: Voter Registration

Program Authorization: La. Constitution, Article IV, Sec. 12; R.S. 36:661; R.S. 18:16-21; R.S. 18:31; R.S. 18:51-64; R.S. 18:400 2-1400.6; P.L. 103-31; LAC 31:II.Chapter 5; and LAC 31:II.Chapter 6

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The mission of the Voter Registration Program is to maintain the department's leadership position as one of the premier voter registration systems in the nation. The Voter Registration Program is responsible for the registration functions of the Department of Elections and Registration.

The goals of the Voter Registration Program are:

1. Ensure accuracy and integrity of Louisiana's voter registration rolls.

2. Conform to the laws, rules, and regulations according to federal, state, and local governments.

3. Maintain and promote public confidence in the voter registration system by the citizens of Louisiana.

In order to accomplish the program's goals, the program will strive to: (1) ensure that voter registration laws are faithfully administered and executed; (2) ensure that all program functions are carried out in the most efficient and cost-effective manner; (3) provide registration reports to parish registrars, members of the legislature, news organizations, local governments, and interested citizens; and (4) maintain the statewide voter registration system by evaluating, updating, and modifying programs to produce cleaner information and reports.

Louisiana was the first state in the nation to have a statewide voter registration system and is still regarded as one of the finest. Several states, including Tennessee, Georgia, and Illinois, have sent representatives to study and duplicate Louisiana's system. At the present time, there are at least 23 other states that have implemented statewide voter registration systems or are in the process of developing one.

The Voter Registration Program includes the following activities: Registration Administration Section, Data Processing Section, and Registrars of Voters Section. The Registration Administration Section directs, assists, and prescribes uniform rules and forms for parish registrars of voters throughout the state to use. The Data Processing Section compiles and stores statistical information on the state's voters. This information is available for use by all departments of government as well as candidates for public office and all other persons interested in statistical research, political analysis, and voter trends. The Voter Registration System (ERIN System) has centralized all voter information and statistics to ensure the integrity of the state's voter rolls, protect against dual registration of individuals, and cancel the registration of individuals who are interdicted or decreased. The expense of this activity is discretionary. The Registrars of Voters Section registers all prospective voters and updates voter registration files. In accordance with statutory requirements, the Department of Elections and Registration is required to pay approximately one-half of the cost of the registrars' salaries, their employees' salaries, and a prorated portion of the canvass cost.

OBJECTIVES AND PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

1. In FY 1998-99, the Voter Registration Program, through the Registration Administration Section, will assist and direct registrars of voters, administer rules and regulations, conform to state and federal law, serve liaison and trouble shooting functions between the registrars of voters and various governmental agencies. The section will coordinate various agency-based registration by the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) and be responsible for all initial and follow-up training.

1 After the Congressional elections in 1998, the number of registered voters will decrease due to list maintenance procedures. The cost per registered voter will appear to increase dramatically but will actually be the artifact of the list maintenance procedure. Each time voter lists undergo this type of maintenance, the new voter registration figure becomes a baseline performance level against which subsequent voter registration figures may be compared.

Explanatory Note: Performance indicators on number of voters registered, percentage change in voter registration, and number and distribution of new voter registrations (by source) appear under Objective 3 below.

2. In FY 1998-99, the Voter Registration Program, through the Registrars of Voters Section, will register voters, update voter rolls, review all incoming voter registration application forms for completeness, and request additional information on all incomplete forms. The program will encourage voter registration methods that make registration more readily available and convenient, increasing by 2% the percentage of voter registrations received from nontraditional sources. The registrars of voters will canvass voters to ensure that an individual is registered in the ward and/or precinct in which he/she resides and will cancel voter registrations of all voters who are deceased, interdicted, or felons.

1 The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) prohibits removal of a registered voter, who has failed to respond to a request by the registrar of voters for confirmation of the voter's address, until the voter has been on an inactive list for two federal general elections. Until the 1998 congressional elections, this number will increase. The department is projecting new applicants prior to the 1998 Congressional elections.

2 Prior to the implementation of NVRA requirements, all voters were registered by the registrars of voters. In FY 1994-95, the Department of Elections and Registration implemented the requirements of the NVRA, which authorizes various nontraditional voter registration methods. As a result of the implementation of the NVRA, there are no longer requests for voter registration drives.

Explanatory Note: The Department of Elections and Registration is in the process of modifying the Statewide Voter Registration System to allow the department to report the number of applications rejected, duplicated, and changed on a fiscal year basis. These figures will be included in the department's operational plan in the future.

3. In FY 1998-99, the Voter Registration Program, through the Data Processing Section, will compile, store, maintain, sell, and report on voter registration statistical information. The section will perform a complete list maintenance procedure, beginning in January 1999, to remove 100% of all inactive voters who have not voted in two federal general elections by October 1998.

1 The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) prohibits removal of a registered voter, who has failed to respond to a request by the registrar of voters for confirmation of the voter's address, until the voter has been on an inactive list for two federal general elections.

2 This quarterly report lists the number of voters by parish, congressional district, senatorial district, representative district, supreme court, court of appeal, district court, public service district, BESE district, party affiliation, race, sex, and age.

RESOURCE ALLOCATION FOR THE PROGRAM

SOURCE OF FUNDING

This program is funded with state general fund and fees and self-generated revenues. Fees and self-generated revenues are derived from the following: (1) candidate qualifying fees; (2) from the local governments annual canvass of voters; and (3) from commercial sales of voter registration lists and/or statistical information.

ANALYSIS OF RECOMMENDATION

GENERAL FUND

TOTAL

T.O.

 

DESCRIPTION

 

 

 

 

 

$7,282,301

$8,172,301

14

 

ACT 18 FISCAL YEAR 1997-1998

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BA-7 TRANSACTIONS:

$64,800

$64,800

0

 

Carryforward for professional services contract which provides for computer services

 

 

 

 

 

$7,347,101

$8,237,101

14

 

EXISTING OPERATING BUDGET - December 10, 1997

 

 

 

 

 

($64,800)

($64,800)

0

 

Non-Recurring Carryforward for professional services contract which provides for computer services

($22,800)

($22,800)

0

 

Equipment/Major Repairs Adjustment(s) (Nonrecurring: -$22,800)

$60,197

$60,197

0

 

Annualization of 1997 -'98 Merit Pay Adjustment(s)

$6,239

$6,239

0

 

1998 -'99 Merit Pay Adjustment(s)

($46,046)

($46,046)

0

 

Attrition Adjustment(s)

($3,154)

($3,154)

0

 

Retirement Rate Adjustment(s)

($11,953)

($11,953)

0

 

Reductions in various Expenditure Categories; Including Reductions to fully fund Salaries

$0

($250,000)

0

 

Reduce projected collections for self-generated revenues

$66,436

$66,436

0

 

Merit increase for the registrar of voters

 

 

 

 

 

$7,331,220

$7,971,220

14

 

TOTAL RECOMMENDED

 

 

 

 

 

($15,881)

($265,881)

0

 

DIFFERENCE (TOTAL RECOMMENDED AND EXISTING OPERATING BUDGET)

 

 

 

 

 

The total means of financing for this program is recommended at 96.7% of the existing operating budget. It represents 92.8% of the total request ($8,586,669) for this program. The net decreased funding is due to a reduced amount of projected self-generated revenue, the removal of funding for nonrecurring carryforward and acquisitions, along with increased funding to provide for the merit increases for registrar of voters.

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

$106,000

 

Other Professional Services for computer programming services for new court districts, PSC Districts and the BESE Board

 

 

 

$106,000

 

TOTAL PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

OTHER CHARGES

$4,022,453

 

Funding for one-half the salaries and related benefits for Registrars of Voters and their assistants

 

 

 

$4,022,453

 

TOTAL OTHER CHARGES

ACQUISITIONS AND MAJOR REPAIRS

.This program does not have funding for Acquisitions and Major Repairs for Fiscal Year 1998-1999.


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