So, What Became of the GAB’s Searchable Recall Petition Database?

MacIver News Service | February 2, 2012

[Madison, Wisc…] The top official at the Government Accountability Board says the GAB  decided not to buy software to transfer handwritten recall petitions into a searchable database, because it’s too expensive.  However, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported more than two weeks ago that the state already bought the software for $100,000.

The Wisconsin Eye public affairs network asked GAB executive director Kevin Kennedy Wednesday about the decision not to create a searchable database that would be available to the public.  Kennedy said they didn’t have the manpower or the money.

“The type of software you would need to convert these PDF files is very expensive,” Kennedy said. “When we do our duplicate review we might have a searchable database but it will be limited only to names.”

So, did they spend money on software that can create a database from scanned handwritten documents?

On January 21, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported the GAB will be “relying on newly purchased software that can convert handwritten names into entries in six searchable databases.”

Do they have the software, or not? Are they using it, or not?  If the software can read the printed names and signatures, why can’t it convert the addresses as well?

Why has the GAB chosen not to put  a searchable database online?

Do they have any internal work product that would be useful to independent efforts to validate the signatures?

The MacIver News Service contacted the GAB on Thursday. It has not yet received a response.