Elections director touts new technology

KINGMAN ­ Election results are becoming more accurate with the introduction of new ballot technology, according to Elections Director Allen Tempert.

The county acquired a new optical-scan voting system in December 2004, thanks to federal dollars from the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which supplied counties across America that were using the punch-card or lever-voting system with the funds to update their system.

"Nine of Arizona's 15 counties had punch-card systems during the 2000 presidential election. The other six already were on optical systems," Tempert said.

"Through HAVA, the federal government gave Arizona 95 percent of the money to update the nine counties to optical-scan systems.

"Our system was used the first time in the February 2004 presidential preference election and has been used seven times so far," Tempert said, "and the results are always right on the money. I am pleased to say that we have not had an ounce of problems with the equipment. The equipment has been tested over and over again and has only shown total accuracy.

"Arizona was very proactive in replacing the outdated systems Š and became the second state in the union to meet the federal standards. Some states have yet to update, and they only have until January of 2006," he said.

Tempert said that while the optical-scan technology is not the most "space-age," it is the most proven throughout the United States for its accuracy. Tempert is a big advocate of the new technology.

"There are 73 voting precincts in a countywide election. Each one sends a tally directly from the site machine to our central computing system," he said. "This allows instant results. I can also monitor which precinct reports first, which one is last Š and if a problem ever occurs, I can quickly make the necessary calls."

Tempert moved to Arizona from Pittsburgh in August of 2002, right in the middle of the primary elections. He said that he thought himself lucky to find his niche in the world, the thing that he loved to do and was able to do well, and decided to do it in a different place. He lived all of his life in the Pittsburgh area and thought it was time to give the West a shot.

"Arizona is a great place. It is continuously growing and becoming more exciting. Back East, everything is either holding its all or dying out. Coming to Arizona was definitely a smart move," Tempert said.

Tempert got his undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh, a graduate degree in advanced accounting from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and a masters in public management from Carnegie Mellon University.