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Trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona & Mohave County
6:43 AM Tue, Oct. 23rd

First violator jailed with trash-cop help<BR>

Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer presents Mohave County Elections Director Allen Tempert with a certificate for successfully completing the Election Officer Certification Course of Instruction.

(Miner Photo by Linda Stelp)

As required by the Help America Vote Act passed in 2002, the state has supplied Mohave County precincts with new voting systems for Arizona's 2004 Presidential Preference Election, which will be held Tuesday.

"We will no longer by using the old punch cards," Mohave County elections director Allen Tempert said.

Diebold Election Systems replaced the punch-card voting equipment with a system that includes optical scanning for vote counting at each polling location.

Diebold has installed new voting devices for the nine counties in Arizona that had been using punch-card voting equipment, according to information from Brewer's office.

Each voter will make a selection with a paper ballet, filling in a space next to the chosen selection with a pencil.

Information from the electronically scanned ballet will be collected and results sent by e-mail to the elections office, Tempert said.

Thus far the state has spent $800,000 to replace punch-card voting systems with optical scanning - the federal government kicked in $14 million.

The congressional legislation authorizes the federal government to spend $57 million to update voting systems.

So far, only two states - Arizona and Georgia - have replaced punch-card systems, with some states asking for more time, Brewer said.

The county incurs no cost in replacement of the voting equipment but bears the time-consuming burden of storing, maintaining and distributing the equipment.

Eighteen Mohave County voting precincts have been consolidated into three precincts for the election Tuesday.

Registered Democratic voters received sample ballets showing the race, the candidates and the polling places for the election.

Only the Democratic party chose to participate in the state's Presidential Preference Election this presidential year, Tempert said.

He emphasized that, officially, Tuesday's vote is not the primary election.

"The primary election will be held Sept.

7, where all voters will be eligible to nominate their choice for president," he said.

"In a primary election candidates are nominated to go into the Nov.

2 presidential election."

Nonetheless, 55 of Arizona's 72 delegates to this summer's Democratic National Convention will be awarded according to Tuesday's vote.

In Arizona and six other states, 269 Democratic delegates will be at stake, more than 12 percent of the 2,162 needed for nomination.

That dwarfs the 45 in the leadoff Jan.

19 Iowa caucuses and the 22 from New Hampshire.

While in Kingman, Brewer presented four county employees who work in the elections field with certificates for successfully completing the Election Officer Certification Course of Instruction.

Tempert, assistant Kim Stewart, voter registration clerk Erma Allen and elections warehouse technician Teri Hoke received certificates.

"They have really stepped up to the plate," Brewer said.

"It has not been easy with all the changes to the system.

There is so much to be done."

For every general election, all people working in the election field must take a re-certification course, which is administered by the Secretary of State's Office, Tempert said.

The election employees receive training for updated election laws and procedures, teamwork and ethics.

"The certification assures the public that their votes will be accurately counted and no one will be disenfranchised," Brewer said.A Kingman resident will spend 90 days in Mohave County Jail for felony littering, the first person sentenced for the offense since the county hired a caseworker to police littering, the prosecutor said.

Michael Johnson, 56, agreed to a plea deal and was sentenced Friday, Mohave County Attorney Jace Zack said.

Kingman resident Victoria Taft hired Johnson to clean up trash at her residence, a report obtained from the county attorney's office stated.

Taft said she hired Johnson after seeing an advertisement in a local publication.

Johnson dumped approximately 200 pounds of bagged household trash on Oct.

5 in an unnamed wash north of Kingman, east of Stockton Hill Road, the county attorney's report said.

Taft paid Johnson $90 to dump the trash and $10 for a dumping fee.

Public works employee John Colclazer found a piece of Taft's mail in the wash on Oct.

19.

After Colclazer contacted Taft, the woman told him she hired Johnson to have the trash removed, the report said.

Colclazer advised Taft that in accordance with state statute, she had five days to clean up the trash.

Taft cleaned up her trash – 12 bags full – and later gave Colclazer information about Johnson's vehicle.

Colclazer then contacted Johnson, who admitted to dumping Taft's trash in the wash.