Color me skeptical about this.
The state elections director tried to assure skeptical voting officials Monday that a problem-ridden centralized voter information system would be fixed in time for the 2008 presidential elections.
"Although we are having tough growing pains, I think we will be ahead of the game for the 2008 presidential elections," said Ann McGeehan, elections director for the secretary of state's office.
Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt doesn't believe it. "That's not going to happen, period," he said, following McGeehan's presentation before more than 100 officials at the Tax Assessor-Collector's Association Conference.
"I don't think we'll ever get there in the next few years," Bettencourt said, blaming flaws in the system designed by IBM and Austin-based Hart InterCivic.
Glitches beset the Texas Election Administration Management (TEAM) system as soon as it went on line in January.
McGeehan promised improvements over the next few weeks, but Galveston Tax Assessor-Collector Cheryl Johnson remained unconvinced.
"Those will help us, but they are not going to change the basic problems that we are having," said Johnson.
The dissatisfaction with TEAM was reflected by the decision of Sulphur Springs-based NETDATA to resume selling voter registration systems to unhappy counties.
NETDATA got out of the voter-registration software businesses when its more than 20 clients switched over to TEAM, NETDATA president Tory Humphries said.
"I've decided to get back into it,"Humphries said.