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Another blow to paperless voting

Officials in Harris County, Texas, announced Tuesday a contract for new voting machines that will finally phase out the county’s aging inventory of equipment that records ballots without producing paper records. approving a $54 million contract with Hart InterCivic, one of three major voting equipment manufacturers, for a new system that gives voters a touchscreen interface and produces a paper records of each ballot, which will allow officials to conduct audits in future elections. Previously, Harris County, which includes Houston and is home to 2.5 million registered voters, was the the largest jurisdiction to still use paper-free electronic machines to record all in-person votes. Benjamin Freed reports.

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Miami's new digital business tool

To aid the city’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has announced the launch of a web application that allows people to apply for business licenses and permits from their phones. Miami’s “eStart” initiative, which Suarez first proposed in 2019, went live Tuesday as the city’s new digital tool for current and future business owners who previously would have had to a permit and licensing process that could take as long as six months to complete, according to Michael Sarasti, the city's chief innovation officer. Ryan Johnston has details.

'No-code' software firm readies application for pandemic rental relief

Unqork, a software firm specializing in “no-code” development that previously helped the governments of New York City and Washington, D.C., set up food-assistance programs for families impacted by the pandemic plans to launch a new application Thursday that state and local governments can use to administer $25 billion in federal rent relief as the health crisis continues. “It can be adapted to the needs of particular jurisdictions while retaining the core of the product to qualify people as eligible, validate who they are and validate their income,” said Cas Holloway, the head of the company’s public enterprise division. Ben has more.

Hawaii's broadband future

Faced with a tourism-dependent economy that’s been shredded by the COVID-19 pandemic, officials in Hawaii are looking for ways to ensure that the island state isn’t as imperiled by future downturns. Critical to building a “Hawaii 2.0.” economy, as Gov. David Ige said Monday, is building out a broadband infrastructure that was not prepared to support widespread remote work, telehealth and virtual learning. “We have a pretty fragile economy being completely dependent on tourism,” Burt Lum, the state's broadband officer, told StateScoop. “How do we diversify our economy? You need the foundation on which a digital economy can flourish. Read more.

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