News

Secretary of State gives INBiz portal boost at Centier

Indianapolis, IN, Thursday, September 29, 2016

More than 40 small business owners as well as representatives of nonprofit organizations and larger CPA and law firms learned more about the state’s INBiz online portal at Centier Bank’s Corporate Centre on Thursday morning.

Whether businesses are a century old or new start-ups, the online portal provides a secure one-stop resource to register and maintain their enterprises, Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson told her audience at the bank.

Launched in April by the Secretary of State’s office, INBiz is administered by the office’s business services division and replaces the state’s old legacy system that was used for years. All businesses registered on the legacy system are now part of INBiz, she said.

New businesses are “one of the driving forces behind Indiana’s economy,” Lawson said.

The aim of the online portal is to make it easier for new and existing companies to do business with the state by allowing them to use one username and password.

The home page at www.inbiz.in.gov allows visitors to do business searches without registering for an account. This business search feature is the most popular with more than 50,000 people accessing the site to date according to Google Analytics, Lawson said.

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State Launches ‘One-Stop’ Business Portal to Blast Through Red Tape

Indianapolis, IN, Monday, May 9, 2016

The state’s “one-stop” portal for Indiana businesses is now up and running.

INBiz—the first phase of the state’s $9.1 million Business OneStop web portal—has launched at INBiz.in.gov. The Indiana Secretary of State’s Office intends the website becomes the “single point of contact for businesses as they do business with the state.”

The site aims to streamline much of the bureaucracy that comes with opening a business, including tax registration, securing permits, and paying annual filing fees.

It should save business owners “time and money that can be reinvested into growing and operating their companies,” Gov. Mike Pence said in a press release.

Later this year, businesses will be able to access services from the Indiana Department of Revenue and the Indiana Department of Workforce Development through the site, including paying their taxes.

Services will continue to be added to the site “as business owners demand,” Secretary of State Connie Lawson said.

“INBiz will be the most comprehensive one-stop resource in the nation,” Lawson said. “It will streamline and expedite the registration and compliance process, reducing the cost of doing business with the state.”

http://www.ibj.com/articles/58504-state-launches-one-stop-business-portal-to-blast-through-red-tape

Connecticut Will Offer Real-Time Election Results This November

Hartford, CT, Tuesday, April 19, 2016

They’ve been working on it for more than five years, but Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said they’ve finished development of a real-time election results reporting system that works for Connecticut.

The program, which will be tested Tuesday in some towns, will allow local election officials to enter returns for their town into an Internet-based program that will share the results from each polling location with the public online.

This will be the first time Connecticut voters will have access to real-time election results. In the past, local election officials were allowed to fax in their vote tallies to the Secretary of the State’s office, or they could email the results in a pdf document, many of which included handwritten tallies. The information wasn’t in an easily downloadable form and it made getting results difficult.

In the past, The Associated Press would collaborate with its member news organizations to staff every Connecticut town to gather election results during statewide elections. But based on attrition in the news industry, staffing every town isn’t always possible anymore. Typically, the two major parties’ campaigns had the information before the news media and everyone was expected to trust the information they were provided, at least for the first 24 hours after the polls closed.

In the new software, the news media will have separate access to the data so that if the public website crashes because of high traffic, news organizations will still have access to the results.

The program was developed by PCC Technology Group of Windsor. Merrill estimated that it cost between $350,000 to $450,000 to build, as part of a larger service contract with the state.

“I do believe we are the only state with a system that is this comprehensive,” Merrill said. “It’s actually a management tool for local officials.”

There are more than 800 polling locations in Connecticut. And with a decentralized electoral system, getting local Registrars of Voters to use the system proved daunting a few years ago when they piloted their first program in a dozen towns.

Ted Bromley, legal counsel for Merrill’s office, said he sees more local election officials embracing the new technology, which will replace fax machines and pdfs.

Local officials will still have 48 hours to submit their official results to the Secretary of the State’s office, but they can report the unofficial results online before the numbers are finalized.

Using the new Internet-based system won’t be mandatory until November. However, Merrill said 140 of the 169 towns have been trained over the past few weeks on how to use the system, which also offers local election officials tools to better calculate some of the results without having to resort to a pen, paper, and calculator.

It’s unclear at the moment how many towns will take advantage of the new program April 26 for the Republican and Democratic presidential primary.

In 2015, East Hartford was the only town to test out the new program, which has since been upgraded.

At the time, Merrill suggested they would not be able to use the system during municipal elections based on the idiosyncrasies of each local form of government in Connecticut. However, the developer was able to make it work and now local registrars will be able to use it during municipal election years, too.

Bromley said the system likely will be improved based on suggestions from local elected officials, but the current iteration of the program is the one they plan to use for the November election.

Merrill said several states have real-time results reporting, but none of the states have created the “comprehensive management system” that Connecticut created for local elected officials to input the information.

“All the reports and all the election management really took some time to do,” Bromley said. “Because in Connecticut we have 169 different towns.”

http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/connecticut_will_offer_real-time_election_results_this_november/

GCR, Quest, and PCC to Attend 2016 NASS Winter Conference

New Orleans, LA, Wednesday, February 10, 2016

GCR Inc., along with subsidiary Quest information Systems and recent acquisition PCC Technology Inc. will be attending the National Association of Secretaries of State’s Winter Conference in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, Feb. 10 through Saturday, Feb. 13.

As leaders in the Secretary of State environment, GCR provides robust web-based elections technology solutions and products for Election Management, Voter Registration, Online Voter Registration, Election Night Reporting, E-Poll Book, Campaign Finance, Lobbying, Personal Financial Disclosure, and Mobile Applications. Additionally, GCR offers an exciting suite of comprehensive and modernized business services technology platforms and solutions for Secretaries of State – including Business One Stop, Business Registration & Governance, Professional and Regulatory Licensing, UCC, Notary, eForms, and eFiling. GCR, Quest, and PCC collectively provide elections and business solutions to clients in 29 states.

By combining Quest’s FirstTuesday® product line and PCC’s Cenuity Platform, along with GCR’s ArcGIS and custom application development expertise, Secretaries of State can fully automate and modernize election and business functions to extend online services for their constituents. Together, we provide broad and deep subject matter expertise and unparalleled customer support services.

http://gcrincorporated.com/gcr-quest-and-pcc-to-attend-2016-nass-winter-conference/

Late Surge Sets Georgia Online Voter Registration Record

Atlanta, GA, Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Georgians clearly are pumped up for next month’s presidential primaries.

The Peach State has set a record for online voter registrations thanks to a surge during the week leading up the Feb. 1 deadline, Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced Wednesday.

During the seven days up to and including Monday, 54,385 Georgians signed up to vote on the state’s online registration website, including 37,903 first-time voters.

“These numbers are unprecedented … and show that Georgians are excited about the SEC Primary,” Kemp said. “Georgians deserve this opportunity to have their voices heard.”

Kemp’s office launched the voter registration website in March of last year, allowing Georgians to register to vote 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Unlike other states, the Georgia system works directly with the state Department of Drivers’ Services to automatically register voters using a Georgia driver’s license or state identification card number.

Early voting for the SEC Primary begins next Monday. The March 1 voting has been dubbed the SEC Primary because Georgia and other states with universities in the Southeastern Conference will be deciding their Republican and Democratic presidential preferences that day.

http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/blog/capitol_vision/2016/02/late-surge-sets-georgia-online-voter-registration.html

Business Portal System Developed by PCC Promoted In Recent News

Montpelier, VT, Tuesday, February 2, 2016

State Launches Online Business Registration System

Starting a business in Vermont just went digital.

A comprehensive online business registration system, called the Vermont Business Portal, was presented to the public Tuesday morning at the Statehouse. The system aims to put the entire process of creating and running a business — as far as state paperwork is concerned — under one umbrella.

The system builds off a series of efforts by state agencies to digitize the creation and collection of paperwork. It will direct business owners to fill out and submit required forms for the Tax and Labor departments and the secretary of state’s office, all online.

“Every year, January through March, the secretary of state’s office used to take up to 10 weeks to process business registrations,” Secretary of State Jim Condos said. “It was a very manual process. People would fill out a paper form and send it to us. The checks and the paper would take literally 10 weeks to process.”

“Now, it’s being done online and almost instantaneously,” he said.

From a link on the secretary of state’s website, users are asked to create one online identity with a name and password linked with their business. The identity is used as a common point of contact with the secretary of state’s office and the Tax and Labor departments. As a security measure, text alerts can be set up to monitor when any of the state’s information on the registered business changes.

The site lets business administrators do myriad tasks, including getting a Vermont tax ID, ending or starting a business, and filing an annual or biennial report with the state. Employees’ wages and hours can be submitted to fulfill Department of Labor requirements.

Gov. Peter Shumlin promoted the system and the agencies involved at the outset of Tuesday’s news conference, leaving with his staff shortly after.

“The vast majority of our employers are small, and everything that we can do to help them set up is good for Vermont,” he said.

The state has seen cost savings after going online and expects that to continue, according to officials. Condos said savings from postage alone will be “considerable.”

Lynette Kemp, the lead tax education specialist at the Tax Department, said that after switching to an online system that has been folded into the new portal, the staff has gone from processing more than 6,600 paper forms — taking more than 550 hours — to 1,652 online forms in 28 hours. Total savings have been just under $10,000.

To create the online portal, the secretary of state’s office contracted with PCC Technology Group, a Connecticut company that specializes in helping to design and program Internet applications for state and local governments. The company has designed similar business registration systems for New Mexico and Connecticut.

In Vermont, previous administrations had tried to create a system like this, Condos said.
“They were limited by the technology,” he said.

As late as 2011, state employees were using an outdated, text-based computer system to organize much of the business information that is now under the auspices of the new portal.

The old system, FoxPro, is a Microsoft-developed system used for managing databases that traces its earliest iterations to 1984. The software is discontinued and has been unsupported by Microsoft since 2007.

The state had hired temporary workers to manually type data into the old system, Condos said, because much of the information that came from the public was on paper. For any payments, people had to send in cash or a check; the new system can be used with a credit card.

Deputy Secretary of State Chris Winters plans to work on folding more state entities into the system. A logical addition, Condos said, would be the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. It affects many businesses, specifically in the regulation of weights and measurements, and a lot of the related paperwork could be digitized and used in the system. Everything from standard firewood measurements to making sure scales at a grocery store are working correctly is regulated by the department.

“Wherever a business might have to interact with another state agency, we’ll look at building it in,” Winters said. “We want to look at resources for starting a business in the first place and adding tools that any business could use.”

State launches online business registration system

PCC Develops New Notary Public Application System for Arkansas

Little Rock, AR, Wednesday, July 22, 2015

New Notary Public Application System

The Business and Commercial Services Division of the Secretary of State (BCS) is excited to announce a new and improved system for the commissioning of notaries public in Arkansas. During Secretary Martin’s first term, we automated many of the commonly used services of BCS such as “Auto-Drop” for corporate filings and online submissions for non-profit annual reports. The new online notary system is another step in making our services more accessible to our constituents and is a great way to begin Secretary Martin’s second term. The new system, which launched in early May of this year, will enhance not only the commissioning process of new and renewing notaries, but will also improve the ability for notaries to manage their commission records throughout their ten-year terms.

After an extensive search, the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office selected PCC Technology Group as the vendor for this project. PCC has created similar systems for many other states including Connecticut and New Mexico. The new system will replace the outdated Windows 2000-based software which had been used by BCS since the early part of this millennium. Users now have an improved commissioning experience as a “wizard” will guide the applicants through their online application.

The system’s new web-portal is located at http://bcs.sos.arkansas.gov. The online wizard will reduce common errors which can cause time-sensitive interruptions in the application process. Applicants will be able to better track the status of their application through the online search page and email notifications. The online system is available for current notaries as well to make changes and amendments to their record throughout their commission.
http://www.sos.arkansas.gov/BCS/Documents/Summer2015ArkInc.pdf

Governor Hassan and Secretary of State’s Office Launch Online Business Registration

Concord, NH Wednesday, October 18, 2014

CONCORD – Building on efforts to improve state government efficiency, make it easier for businesses to start up in New Hampshire and ensure that state government remains responsive to the needs of the business community, Governor Maggie Hassan and Secretary of State William Gardner announced today the launch of NH QuickStart, an online platform for business registration with the Corporation Division of the Secretary of State’s Office.

“In order to support job-creating businesses and keep our economy moving in the right direction, we must always be looking for new ways to make our nimble state government even more responsive to the needs of the business community,” Governor Hassan said. “Modern businesses expect and need to do business online, and by allowing for online business registration, NH QuickStart will help make it easier for businesses to start up in New Hampshire. I applaud the Secretary of State’s leadership in moving registrations online.”

Until today, business registrations had to be mailed or hand-delivered along with payment by cash or check, but with NH QuickStart, anyone may now securely register corporations, LLCs and trade names online. When registering online, NH QuickStart users can pay with a credit card or an established ACH account.

The effort is part of an overall strategy to modernize state government and move more of its services online. Governor Hassan issued an Executive Order directing state agencies to move all possible business-related forms online by next fall, through the state’s Business One Stop.

This is also the first in a series of improvements planned to modernize the way customers interact with the Corporation Division. NH QuickStart allows users to create an account that tracks their business formation from initial submission through completion by receiving real-time notifications throughout the business filing process.

“We are very excited about the changes we are bringing forward,” Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan said. “The new online capability should be more efficient for the Corporation Division and much more convenient for those who utilize the division’s services.”

Over the next 18 months, additional improvements and features will be added to NH QuickStart, including additional business formation types, business amendments, document searching, electronic reminder notices, certificate of good standing requests and a new mobile app named NHQS available for both Android and Apple products.

Initially, NH QuickStart will allow users to register trade names and create the following business types online: Domestic Corporation, Professional Corporation, Domestic Limited Liability Company, Domestic Professional Limited Liability Company, Foreign Corporation, Foreign Professional Corporation, Foreign Limited Liability Company and Foreign Professional Limited Liability Company.

It also has the ability to keep users informed of new functionality as it becomes available through the “What’s New?” and “News” links and provides frequently asked questions to guide the user through the online filing process, as well as useful links to New Hampshire business forms and laws, legacy business name search, a list of New Hampshire-registered agents and other state agencies.

Attracting job-creating businesses to the Granite State and ensuring that state government is responsive to the needs of the business community is one of Governor Hassan’s top priorities. In addition to the Executive Order directing state agencies to move all possible business-related forms and applications online by next fall, she launched Live Free and Start to help make it easier for innovative businesses to start up and flourish in New Hampshire.

To access NH QuickStart, visit https://QuickStart.sos.nh.gov.

About PCC: PCC Technology Group, LLC is a global provider of Business Domain Expertise and Information Technology solutions. The Company is a recognized leader in eGovernance and a provider of digital solutions in the energy, healthcare and education sectors. For the past two decades, PCC has served public and private sector clients by developing web applications, providing consulting and project management services, and building highly secure cloud-based systems.

Montgomery County Updates Election Night Tabulation Process

Bloomfield, CT, Thursday, July 17, 2014

Montgomery County officials are looking forward to new software that will allow residents to track elections in real time and in a user-friendly manner.

The commissioners awarded a contract for $74,860 July 17 to PCC Technology Group of Bloomfield, Conn., for software that will yield real-time election data on the county’s website.

“This is really going to bring us into the modern era,” commissioners Vice Chairwoman Leslie Richards said.

Richards, who also serves as the chairwoman of the county election board, said the new system will be much more user-friendly. Currently, she said, users have to constantly refresh the web page if they want updates and then scroll down to re-find the race they were looking at.

“That will no longer be the case,” she said. “A map of the county will come up, if you choose that option, you will be able to touch — whether it’s on your phone, whether it’s on your tablet, on a screen with a mouse — you’ll be able to zero in on a particular municipality, you’ll be able to zero in on a senate district, on a house district depending on what you are following.”

The software will also show election results and data in the form of different graphs, and users will be able to compare current to past elections, Richards said.

The Montgomery County Department of Voter Services hopes to have the new system in place in time for the November elections.

“Of course, we will be testing this and only when we are completely satisfied that everything is accurate and all the safety protocols are in place and that everything is working as it should, will it be up and running in November,” Richards said.

When the system is up and running, the county will hold a demonstration to make residents more familiar with it.

About PCC: PCC Technology Group, LLC is a global provider of Business Domain Expertise and Information Technology solutions. The Company is a recognized leader in eGovernance and a provider of digital solutions in the energy, healthcare and education sectors. For the past two decades, PCC has served public and private sector clients by developing web applications, providing consulting and project management services, and building highly secure cloud-based systems.

Georgia Voting: There’s an App for it!

Bloomfield, CT, Friday, April 11, 2014

One of my main goals as Georgia’s Secretary of State has been to increase efficiencies and decrease costs by using technology. Of all of the innovations that the office has made over the years, I could not be more proud of the state’s ability to offer online voter registration and the My Voter Page (MVP) mobile app. These tools truly accomplish both goals.

Recently, I had the opportunity to share this with citizens all over Georgia. I was most struck by one particular encounter. At the Savannah Armory, I visited with members of our National Guard and talked to them about Georgia’s new online voter registration system and MVP app for mobile devices. It was one of the most positive experiences I have had since I began serving as Georgia’s Secretary of State in 2010. We had a great dialogue about the challenges of military voting. One young man told me that he always wonders whether his vote really counts.

This is exactly why the team at the office of the Secretary of State has been working diligently for months to implement our MVP mobile application. Now that young man in Savannah will be able to track his ballot from the time he sends it, until it is cast by his local elections board. He also does not need to be in front of a computer screen; he can do it from his iPhone. When he saw the new innovation on the app, he said, “Now I am going to vote all the time!”

This is one of the many new features in the MVP app. Are you sure who is running for what office? Georgia voters can view sample ballots that are specific to them. They can see a qualified list of candidates. Are you having trouble locating your polling place? The MVP app not only tells you where it is, but it gives you directions how to get there. Don’t have time to vote on Election Day? You can use your phone to locate early voting locations in your county. Did you cast a provisional ballot and want to check the status? You can check on that while you are sitting in the parking lot at the grocery store. Have you recently moved and just can’t find time to go by a library or post office to get a form to change your voter registration address? No worries. You can use your phone to update your voter registration. Can’t get your teenager to sit down and fill out a voter registration form? They can do it between Angry Birds games on their Samsung tablet.

I want to encourage all Georgians to take advantage of this technology by visiting www.sos.ga.gov or search “GA votes” in the app store for your Android or Apple mobile device.

As Georgia’s Secretary of State, I am proud to say, there’s an app for that.

About PCC:

PCC Technology Group, LLC is a global provider of Business Domain Expertise and Information Technology solutions. The Company is a recognized leader in eGovernance and a provider of digital solutions in the energy, healthcare and education sectors. For the past two decades, PCC has served public and private sector clients by developing web applications, providing consulting and project management services, and building highly secure cloud-based systems.

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