Sunday, October 10, 2004

Volunteers from various political organizations helped conduct a logic and accuracy test at the state Capitol yesterday to ensure voting machines for the disabled will be ready for election day. Brian Kim and Sharon Dumas prepared to perform one of the tests.

Electronic voting gets
go-ahead for Nov. 2

Elections officials are confident
that all the glitches are gone

State election officials have worked out a number of glitches that occurred with the new electronic voting machines during the Sept. 18 primary election, according to an elections office spokesman.

"Everything's ready to go," Rex Quidilla said yesterday, after working with independent observers to test the voting machines to be used in the Nov. 2 general election.

Dozens of volunteers and elections observers gathered at the Capitol yesterday afternoon to test the new Hart Intercivic eSlate electronic voting machines and the Election Systems and Software optical scanning counters.

Quidilla said that all of the state's voting machines have been given approval for use in the presidential election.

After the primary election, officials blamed a miscount of more than 6,000 voters on problems in combining tallies from the state's two different voting systems: The Election Systems and Software, Inc. optical scanners, which counted most of the votes, and the new eSlate electronic voting machines.

Quidilla said the problem shouldn't happen again in the general election tallies.

He also stressed the miscount didn't affect any races, just voter turnout totals.

Other mishaps occurred when a precinct used another area's voting machine, and when some precincts didn't send their machines to the Capitol after the polls were closed. He said volunteers have been notified of the errors, and instructed on proper voting procedures.

A group called Safe Vote Hawaii is calling for voters to boycott the electronic voting machines because they do not have a paper printout which would allow a manual recount of the votes.

Concerns about the machines were raised again yesterday, but some also pointed out that the electronic voting machines do provide some printouts for elections officials that can be checked against a ballot's result.

"It's a good system," said Sharon Dumas, an independent observer from the Hawaii Republican Party. "The machine has checks within itself."

But Jean Aoki, legislative chair for the Hawaii chapter of the League of Women Voters, said she would still like to see "voter-verified paper trails."

"We want to know that the vote was legitimate," she said. "If we can stick to paper ballots or an elections system that has a paper ballot, there's that much more confidence."

Quidilla said the state elections office will discuss residents' concerns with the machines after the general election.

State Office of Elections



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