State lines

Web support. Virginia Beach, Va., has deployed an online support channel to provide live, online assistance to visitors to its Web site, www.VBgov.com.

LivePerson Inc., an application service provider in New York, helps the city's information office answer users' requests quickly.

Visitors to the city's Web portal can ask questions using the LivePerson tool through a secure chat window.

Users do not need plug-ins or downloads to access it. They simply click on an icon at Virginia Beach's site. A chat window opens on the visitor's browser and the site operator is notified of the call.

'We are always seeking new and innovative ways to improve citizen communication and services. Online Assistance is an excellent combination of technology and customer service that does just that,' said Virginia Beach public information coordinator Bill Greeves.

Called out. Rhode Island recently joined a growing list of states embarrassing its tax-delinquent residents by listing their names or the names of their businesses on the Web. The Ocean State joined Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Wisconsin and others in trying to shame citizens and business owners into paying late taxes ranging from $25,000 to $850,000.

The Taxation Division has listed the top 85 outstanding delinquents, who owe a total of more than $6 million, on its site at www.tax.ri.gov.

Before putting the list online, Rhode Island officials sent notices to 126 tax offenders informing them of the plan. Of those, 41 owing a combined $3.5 million responded by paying or working out a payment schedule.

Many states are hoping to offset budget problems by collecting overdue taxes. Maryland's program, for instance, has brought in $8.9 million since 2000. Louisiana collected more than $1.3 million in the first year it used the Web to shame delinquent taxpayers.

Get out the voters. Idaho has awarded Covansys Corp. of Farmington Hills, Mich., a $3.4 million contract to implement a voter registration system.

Covansys will design, develop and install Idaho's Statewide Voter Registration System, which will be in place by July 1, 2005, the company said.

The new statewide voter registration system will let cities and counties throughout the state share data, exchange information among agencies, validate and identify voters, process special voter applications, scan registration cards, generate poll lists and issue reports.

The system will help Idaho comply with the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which requires all states to implement centralized and interactive statewide voter registration systems.

Covansys' teammates include PCC Technology Group of Bloomfield, Conn., which will provide its ElectioNet voter registration and election management software.

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