for 99 cents.

Davidson's office also is looking to revamp its campaign finance software so political candidates can make much more extensive use of the software for various filings.

"We're the only state that has mandated electronic filing of charitable solicitations," she said. "Such organizations can't file paper in our state. It's all electronic."

Perhaps the biggest technology challenge facing Davidson's office is complying with the Help America Vote Act. "We are currently building a voter registration and election management system that will integrate all election records for the 64 counties," Davidson said. "In addition, the new statewide voter registration system will automatically download updated information from three state departments."

Updated information will be received by the Department of Motor Vehicles, Colorado Department of Corrections and the Department of Vital Statistics, she said, and the automatic connection with these statewide departments will automatically update the statewide voter registration list.

"If a voter dies, the Department of Vital Statistics will immediately notify the Secretary of State's Office so that voter will be removed from the voter rolls," she said. "This comprehensive system will keep the state voter rolls much cleaner."

-- Shane Peterson, Associate Editor

Sharon Dawes

Director

Center for Technology in Government

Pioneering Digital Government

Can technology really change the way government works, improve the way it collaborates and shares information, and ultimately make life better for citizens?

Perhaps the only organization that has tried consistently to find answers to that question is the Albany, N.Y.-based Center for Technology in Government (CTG).

Since 1993, when she took over as director at CTG, Sharon Dawes has used partnerships, research and technology to build the knowledge that federal, state and local governments need to increase productivity, reduce costs, enhance quality and deliver better services.

The results have been both consistent and impressive:

  • 25 partnership projects with 57 government agencies, 42 corporate organizations and 14 academic institutions
  • 60 publications
  • 12 prototypes developed
  • 16 research grants and contracts worth more than $5.5 million
  • Numerous honors, including the Ford Foundation Innovations in American Government award.

    The specifics from just a few projects run under Dawes' leadership are equally impressive. The CTG, in partnership with the National Science Foundation, helped New York's Department of Motor Vehicles streamline how it issues vehicle titles by 70 days, saving the agency $3 million. It showed how the Adirondack Park Agency could cut customer waiting time by 99 percent. Most recently, CTG built a prototype that would allow local governments to sign on once to access multiple state databases and information systems -- no simple feat.

    It's the kind of project that has made the center a pioneer in digital government research.

    Having begun her career in government, working for one of the biggest state agencies in the country -- the New York State Department of Social Services -- Dawes understands the challenges and opportunities for public agencies and the overall government enterprise. She expanded her knowledge and leadership in the field while executive director of the New York State Forum for Information Resource Management and as an executive fellow at the Rockefeller Institute of Government.

    The secret behind CTG's success and what Dawes is most proud of is the center's "Smart IT" methodology that focuses on the earliest stages of IT initiatives -- defining the real problem, engaging stakeholders, understanding processes, considering alternatives and selecting key strategies before making commitments.

    The methodology works because of the center's dedicated team of researchers, according to Dawes.

    "Staff members here are stellar as individuals and as a team," she said. "I take great pride in having recognized their talent, and then watched them build relationships with government, academic