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Down upon the Suwanee. When voters in Suwanee, Ga., vote in the special election in the city hall building on Aug. 20, they'll be the first voters in the state to use an electronic touch-screen voting system for two consecutive elections in a row.

Voters will choose a replacement for former city councilman Andrew Krieman, who moved to New Jersey early this year.

The city chose a voting system from VoteHere Inc. of Bellevue, Wash. Suwanee will use VoteHere Version 3.1 software. Written in Linux, VoteHere runs on ViewPad 1000 tablet PCs from ViewSonic Corp. of Walnut, Calif. The tablets each have an 800-MHz Intel Celeron processor and 128M of RAM.

Each tablet will sit on a table with privacy screens, said Jennifer Curley, director of government affairs for VoteHere. The tablets are connected to a Compaq server inside city hall.

Benefits misfire. Florida's Agency for Workforce Innovation, which operates the state's Unemployment Compensation System, sent benefit checks to prison inmates and dead people because of poor system controls, state auditors said.

In a report, auditor general William O. Monroe said the unemployment compensation agency had not corrected problems identified in a previous audit. In fiscal 2000, the agency issued 278 payments totaling $104,691 to persons shown as deceased by the Office of Vital Statistics, the auditors said.

In the same period, the agency issued 1,904 payments, for $692,574, to persons shown as incarcerated by the state's Stop Inmate Fraud program.

In a written response to the audit findings, work force agency officials largely agreed and said they were working to prevent improper benefit payments and improve the unemployment compensation system.

Maryland e-gov readiness. Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend last month announced results of a survey that shows that 64 percent of the state's households and 89 percent of its businesses have computers, and 42 percent of the businesses conduct transactions online. The eReadiness Maryland study found that most use dial-up Internet connections, whose speed drops from 52.6 Kbps down to 23.2 Kbps in some areas because of aging copper phone wiring.

Thirty-two percent of the companies surveyed had T1 or faster lines, and 11 percent had digital subscriber lines.

The eReadiness survey covered 1,422 Maryland households and 1,126 businesses.

Opportunity. The Community Oriented Policing Services Office of the Justice Department offers grants to help law enforcement agencies acquire new technologies and equipment. Visit www.usdoj.gov/cops/gpa for details.

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