Don't force voter system that isn't ready

A statewide voter registration system will be an asset to Nevada's 17 counties when it is perfected, but there's no point in ruining a good reputation by forcing a system that's not ready yet.

That's why we were glad to see a compromise that doesn't cram county clerks into the new system by a Jan. 1 federal deadline. The Secretary of State's Office will function as an information clearinghouse, while the clerks continue to rely on their own systems.

Once a statewide network is working reliably, Nevada will have a more effective barrier against voter fraud and a smoother way to handle changes when people move from one county to another.

It's a requirement of the Help America Vote Act, which also mandated electronic voting machines like the ones Carson City and the rest of the state put into use in the last election.

Nevada has been in the forefront of electronic voting, and it has generally been free of allegations of voter fraud. The process has worked well county by county, and that's a reflection of the excellent work done by clerks and their election deputies around the state.

They don't want to see that reputation crumble. More important, they don't want voters to be put off by a balky statewide registration system. Anything that stands between an eligible voter and his ability to cast a ballot will discourage people from coming to the polls.

Unfortunately, Nevada has had some computer nightmares in the past. This need not be one of them.


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