Kofax, the worlds largest information capture vendor, today announced the successful results of an installation of its industry-leading Ascent Capture technology to perform vote capture and reporting for local government elections in New Zealand. Independent Election Services (IESL), an Auckland, New Zealand-based private company under contract to 13 local government councils, implemented Kofaxs enterprise-scale information capture platform to improve the speed and efficiency of a new automated vote-counting system enacted to process and tally votes for one-third of New Zealands national voting population.
Prior to the new Kofax-enabled system, IESL relied on a legacy vote tallying system that required voting officials to manually scan barcodes placed next to candidate names on ballots. The complexity of the information on the ballots, along with the physical differences in the size and dimensions of the various types of ballots used throughout New Zealand, made processing votes a tedious, time-consuming task. Ascent Capture significantly reduced the amount of time IESL staff spend tallying votes and enabled election results to be available in a matter of hours.
With the attention that voting processes were given in the prior two national elections in the U.S., there is an obvious need to augment current processes with new technology such as information capture to reduce human error and greatly speed the posting of election results, said Anthony Macciola, vice president of development and marketing at Kofax. With Ascent Capture, government entities and their service providers, like the local government councils in New Zealand and IESL, can accurately capture election data, process high-volumes of ballots and deliver final election results faster than ever.
To implement the custom vote- capture system, IESL contacted Moore Gallagher, a local print and database management company, and Infinity Solutions, a Kofax Certified Solutions Provider (CSP) and one of New Zealands largest systems integration firms. Moore Gallagher and Infinity Solutions chose to incorporate the Ascent Capture platform as part of the overall information capture system due to its capacity to seamlessly integrate with the existing IESL hardware infrastructure and Moore Gallaghers proprietary vote counting software Votext.
In addition, the integration of the Ascent Capture platform helped meet the demands of the local councils for fast and accurate election results.
According to Mark Broome, account manager at Infinity Solutions, another critical element to the overall information capture solution was the integration of several Kodak i820 scanners. The scanners provided an endorser feature that, in tandem with the Ascent Capture platform, printed a number on each paper document as it was scanned to facilitate matching the physical hard copies of documents with their corresponding digital images.
The Ascent Capture platform, along with the Kodak i820 scanners, enabled us to create a versatile, fully auditable information capture system that meets the legal requirements for processing vote counts twice, comparing counts, and reconciling any differences that may have occurred, said Broome. In addition, Ascent Captures intuitive interface helped IESL staff maintain unprecedented accuracy of captured data, which significantly improved IESLs elections reporting processes.
In 2004, IESL was responsible for processing over 400,000 voting documents during a three week voting period. Because of these high numbers, we implemented full page, high volume scanning, used in conjunction with Kofaxs Ascent Capture software and new (Votext) election software," said Dale Ofsoske, owner of IESL. It was important that any new processing platform used did not compromise our reputation for high standards of integrity, accuracy and efficiency in conducting elections. Rigorous testing, along with a commitment by providers to the project has resulted in a very successful outcome of providing timely and accurate election results.
As a result of the new information capture system, IESL was able to process approximately 400,000 ballot documents in one election and deliver progress results just one hour after polls closed, and preliminary election results before the end of the voting day. Due to the enormous success of the new system, many other voting communities in New Zealand are considering adopting an information capture solution.