State lines

Election reform. Congress has appropriated $500 million in the 2004 catchall spending bill for grants to help states improve voting technology.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004 states that the half-billion-dollar grant kitty will assist state and local efforts to improve election technology and administration of federal elections.

The appropriation is authorized by Section 257 of the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which Congress passed in the wake of the disputed 2000 presidential election.

HAVA affects every part of the voting process, from voting machines to provisional ballots, registration and poll worker training, the League of Women Voters has said. The act mandates federal requirements for provisional ballots, statewide computerized voter lists, second-chance voting and disability access.

Network deal. Delaware has signed a contract for Internet services with Internap Network Services Corp.

The Atlanta-based contractor will provide support for state government Internet users, offering services that include remote access to networks and Web applications. The company also maintains several state Web sites, such as the Department of Transportation, which offers live traffic and travel information and accepts driver's license applications online.

Colleen Gause, director of the Technology and Information Department, said the state awarded the contract after receiving guarantees from the company that it would maintain a specific level of Internet service, and that it employs a redundant connectivity model. Internap will use the state's 100-Mbps Ethernet fiber-optic network to transmit data and oversee traffic from its Private Network Access Point in Philadelphia.

The system is expected to reduce the need for critical data to travel across local network loops, which would lower access charges and improve connection speed and performance.

Tech partnerships. Virginia is accepting proposals from contractors for ways to finance its IT infrastructure to improve service and save money.

The state plans to award contracts under its two-year-old Public-Private Education Infrastructure and Facilities Act, officials said.

The act encourages public-private partnerships and was expanded last year to include technology infrastructure projects, such as telecommunications, management information systems and related services.

George Newstrom, Virginia's secretary of technology and chairman of the state's IT Investment Board, said the act will let the state obtain the latest infrastructure without paying for it entirely out of its own pocket.

Industry experts said the companies most likely to have offered proposals are American Management Systems Inc. of Fairfax, Va.; BearingPoint Inc. of McLean, Va.; IBM Corp.; and Northrop Grumman Corp.


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