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Improvements to the Wisconsin Election Data Collection System (WEDCS)

Posted in
Priority: 
Timely Attention Required
Date: 
September 13, 2012
To: 
Wisconsin County Clerks
To: 
Wisconsin Municipal Clerks
To: 
City of Milwaukee Election Commission
To: 
Milwaukee County Election Commission
From: 
Nathaniel E. Robinson, Election Division Administrator
AttachmentSize
WEDCS Improvements 09-13-12.pdf54.2 KB

We recently made improvements to the Wisconsin Election Data Collection System (WEDCS) that we would like to share with you.  First, we updated the WEDCS chapter of the SVRS manual.  This updated chapter, along with all other current versions of SVRS Manual chapters is available on our website at http://gab.wi.gov/clerks/education-training/svrs-manual.  Chapter 21 of the SVRS manual covers WEDCS.

For those that may not be aware, we have developed a special website just for accessing WEDCS.  You can type “wedc.gab.wi.gov” in your browser’s address bar to access this new website.  When prompted for your user name and password, type “svrs\” and then your normal SVRS user name, and then your normal SVRS password.  Instructions for accessing this website are also available in the latest version of the WEDCS chapter of the SVRS manual.

Summary of Improvements

This improved website allows clerks to stay connected for up to two hours, compared to about 15-30 minutes through the Citrix platform.  Once you click on functionality, that two hour time limit starts over. This site also allows access to relier clerks who do not enter data into SVRS, but want to enter their own GAB-190 data into WEDCS. Interested clerks should contact the G.A.B. Help Desk at (608) 261-2028 to be assigned a user name and password.  This website also provides a temporary solution to allow clerks to print a copy of the cost report, explained in greater detail below.

The next improvement is a change to the format of how the cost information is entered.  We changed the cost section from a separate SharePoint-based site to a report within WEDCS that is very similar in look and operation to how the reporting unit statistics are entered.  The descriptions of what each cost category should include are still provided in the help feature, just as with the reporting unit statistics.  To view these instructions and helpful information, simply hover over, or click on the blue question mark icon “(?)” next to each question.

We added the previous cost data from the April, May, and June 2012 elections in this new cost report format.  This allows clerks to have the ability to update their cost information, in case they receive a bill beyond the initial reporting period, or if they notice a typographical error in the information that was initially entered.

This improved format also provides a more organized and readable format for printing a copy of the cost report. We have not yet built the functionalities that will allow using the “Print” button for the cost report, or creating the report for the “Reports” option on the left-hand side of the WEDCS menu.  However, we plan to have both of those improvements completed before the November 6, 2012 Presidential and General Election.  For now we have developed an alternative solution that will allow clerks to print a copy of the cost report, if they like.  Instructions on how to print the cost report are provided below.  Note that clerks must be logged into the direct WEDCS website listed in step one in order to print a copy of the cost report.

Public and Media Request for Information on Costs of Elections

Due to the increase in public records requests for this information, we are posting the cost data in spreadsheets on our website.  This is your opportunity to update your cost data as soon as possible. Please refer to our August 17, 2012 communication at  http://gab.wi.gov/node/2456 regarding public records requests and our revised statement on data availability and quality.  We expect to receive continuing requests from the media and the public for this information, and therefore entering any revised or updated data as soon as possible will ensure that the media and the public have the most accurate information.

Steps to Print the Cost Reports

1. Open a new Internet Explorer window, and in the address bar, type “wedc.gab.wi.gov” and hit enter.
2. When prompted for a user name and password, enter “svrs\” followed by your normal SVRS (Citrix) user name, and then your normal password.
3. Select the election you want to work with from the menu list on the left.
4. Click on the cost report you want to work with.
5. Using your mouse, highlight from the blue heading at the top that includes the name of your county, your municipality, and the words “cost report” down to where that same heading is at the bottom of the page.
6. From the menu bar, go to File ? Print Preview.
7. Near the top of the screen there should be three dropdown menus. Change the middle box from “As laid out on screen” to “As selected on screen.”
8. Click on the printer icon to print out the report as selected.

Now that the statistics section and the cost section of the GAB-190 are all in WEDCS, it is easier for counties to monitor which municipalities need to enter their GAB-190 data.

Steps to Follow to Check for Incomplete GAB-190s

1. Log into WEDCS.
2. Select an election from the menu on the left side.
3. Near the bottom of the reports list, click on “Show Filter” (in blue font).
4. Change the filter for the fourth column, “Form Status” to “Not Equal To”.
5. In the text box below that filter, enter “complete” (under “Not Equal To”).
6. Click on “Apply Filter” (in blue font).
7. A list of the GAB-190 reporting unit statistics and cost reports that are not completed will be displayed.

You can also filter for only the cost report by changing the third column filter to “contains” and type “cost” in the text box below. Changing the filter to “Does Not Contain” would display only the statistic sections that are not completed.

If you have any additional questions, or other suggestions on how we could improve WEDCS and the GAB-190 form, please contact Brian Bell at (608) 261-2011, or Brian.Bell@wi.gov.  Thank you!