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Hawaii News

Isles on course for election

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Election test-ballot counting took place yesterday in the Senate chambers at the state Capitol. Sorting test ballots were Amy Monk and head elections observer Dennis Kam.

State elections officials yesterday successfully conducted a test run of the procedure that will be used to tally absentee mail-in votes in Saturday’s primary election.

They previously had performed a trial run of the separate process used to count ballots of those who will turn out at precincts to vote Saturday.

Roughly 40 percent of Hawaii ballots are cast absentee — either through the mail or at walk-in sites around the state.

Walk-in voting is available through Thursday.

Dennis Kam, an official volunteer elections observer since 1984, said he’s satisfied with the integrity and security of the voting process being conducted by Hart Intercivic at a cost of $4.6 million for both the primary and general elections.

"We have lots of audit trails here, lots of sign-off sheets. Everything’s accounted for," said Kam, who is the head observer this year. "We have the physical evidence of the vote, that is, we have a paper, and because we have the paper, we can always manually audit if we have to."

Even when a person chooses the option to cast a vote with an electronic machine, the system spits out a hard copy that can be used in case there’s an audit.


To confirm your polling place and precinct number, go to elections3.hawaii.gov/ppl/ and follow the instructions, or call the Office of Elections at 453-8683 or 800-442-8683 from the neighbor islands.

The first printout of results is expected shortly after 6 p.m. Saturday and should include 100 percent of absentee walk-in votes as well as between 85 and 95 percent of absentee mail-in ballots, said Rex Quidilla, a spokesman for the Office of Elections.

The second printout, due about 9:30 p.m., traditionally includes about 40 percent of votes cast on Saturday, Quidilla said.

A third printout, to be released around 11:30 p.m., will include "hopefully more than 99 percent of the polling places," he said.

Scott Nago, chief election officer, reminded voters to check where their polling places are before heading out on election day. Budget cuts forced the elections office to eliminate 97 of the 331 polling places used in 2008.

Earlier this month, corrected ballots had to be sent to 1,600 voters in Portlock and Hawaii Kai after it was discovered that the 25th Senate District race was missing due to a printing error on Hart Intercivic’s part.

Nago said his office has not received any complaints since the new ballots were mailed out.


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