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Technical Details of SVRS

The Statewide Voter Registration System is a complex, multi-tiered application that is used by over 1,600 users in approximately 700 locations across the State of Wisconsin. The system was developed using the Microsoft .NET platform with a SQL Server database. It is a client-server application delivered to users over the internet via Citrix Metaframe. Citrix provides the necessary security to allow the system to be accessed using the public internet, and still provide adequate system response times and “thick client” type functionality. 

The SVRS is a centralized technical architecture built on Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and .NET framework. It runs on an n-tier application with a web presentation layer, business logic components in the application layer and a clustered database in the backend layer. The run-time environment includes the .NET framework version 1.1 and 2.0, IIS version 6.0 and ASP.NET version 1.1 and 2.0. The database was originally written for SQL Server 2000 and has been upgraded to SQL 2005. SVRS utilizes Citrix Metaframe to deliver the application to users over the internet. Infrastructure services include Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services, Microsoft Clustering Services, Active Directory and Terminal Services. Most of the application code is written in VB.NET with a small set of code in C++. The application was originally written for Visual Studio 2003 and .NET framework 1.1, and is in the process of being upgraded to VS 2008/.NET 3.5. 

The Production environment is scaled for 1,000 concurrent users in locations across the State of Wisconsin. The environment consists of three (3) web application servers, four (4) Citrix Secure Gateway servers, two (2) SQL Reporting servers, one (1) batch processing web server, eighteen (18) Citrix Metaframe Presentation application servers, four (4) database servers (the first two configured as active/active and the other two as active/passive), two (2) Active Directory Domain Controllers, one (1) Certificate Server and one (1) Citrix Management server. The SVRS hardware consists of IBM BladeCenter components and a Storage Area Network. All servers in the Production environment are physical, with the exception of the three web-servers used for the Voter Public Access website (which allows residents to look up their voter registration information). These servers are virtual to allow for greater flexibility in scaling up and down as needed. The Voter Public Access website had 65,000 user sessions in a single day, the day prior to the November 2008 Presidential and General Election, while user sessions for the month of June, 2009, averaged at only 82 sessions per day. 

SVRS also includes data interfaces with three state agencies, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Health Services and the Department of Transportation, which utilize XML and web services. The Board is also in the process of developing interfaces with ballot tabulation software. Users also utilize various peripheral hardware devices when using the system including bar code scanners (usually manufactured by Wasp), local printers and individual label printers (usually manufactured by Dymo).