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Saturday, June 3, 2000

Hawaii State Seal

State plans rehire
of ballot counter

The firm that handled the
'98 count is the only one
being considered

By Richard Borreca


State elections officials should have a contract with Election Systems & Software to count the ballots in the next four state elections by late this month or early July, says Dwayne Yoshina, chief election officer.

Yoshina said state procurement laws prohibit him from discussing the contract specifics, but he acknowledged that the state is dealing only with ES&S.

Two years ago, the same firm was hired by Yoshina under a sole source contract to count the ballots in the 1998 primary and general election for $1.6 million.

Yesterday Yoshina said the new contract will be more expensive and will run for eight years.

After repeated complaints about poorly trained poll watchers, malfunctioning voting machines and spoiled ballots, the state recounted the ballots and while no election results changed, the company paid $250,000 to settle contract disputes and $280,000 to recount the ballots.

Yoshina said he thinks the election this year will be "markedly better" than the 1998 election, noting that ES&S has designed new software and modified the hardware to count the ballots.

"It is a good system," he said.

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