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Database Flawed, Not Malevolent 

Associated Press
  Nov. 23, 2004 PT

TALLAHASSEE, Florida Florida elections officials were lax in their oversight of the company that created a flawed database of felons and dead voters, but there was no intent to disenfranchise anyone, an internal audit of the project found.

The audit by the Department of State's inspector general, released Monday, concerned the state's now-canceled contract with the consulting firm Accenture, which was paid $2.3 million to create the database.
The list, primarily intended to help local elections officials purge voter rolls of convicted felons without voting rights and people who had died since the last election, matched a list of registered voters with other lists of deaths and criminal records sent in by other state agencies.

Secretary of State Glenda Hood's office abandoned the project earlier this year after acknowledging that 2,500 ex-felons were on the list even though their voting rights had been restored and that, due to a technical glitch, Hispanics were largely absent from the list. Hispanics often vote Republican in Florida, and some critics questioned whether there was intent to purge some felons, but not others.

While finding that the database was unable to match felons and deaths with some registered voters of Hispanic origin, auditors said that "there was no evidence to substantiate that the division intended for such disparities to occur."

The main flaw in the project was that incomplete data were used, Department of State Inspector General Kirby Mole found.

Hood said she agreed with the inspector general's findings and that her office would take them into account as it created a new voter registration database now required by federal law.

"There was nothing intentional, everyone was trying very hard," Hood said. "There were just some management controls that were not in place. That is not going to be the case in the future."

The creation of the new database will also be contracted out to a private vendor, but Hood said additional checks will be put in place.

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