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An update on past news

Wednesday, November 8, 2000

Old punch-card voting
system kept as backup

Question: What ever happened to the old election hardware?

Answer: The state Office of Elections discarded the punch-card voting system after the 1996 elections but is holding on to some of the hardware, said Dwayne Yoshina, chief election officer.

When the state began using the Election Systems & Software equipment in 1998, the old machines were kept as backup in case anything went wrong. Now that the new system has successfully passed through the 1998 and 2000 elections, keeping the old hardware may no longer be necessary, Yoshina said.

The state rented many of the computers needed to support the old system, but the Elections Office also purchased 36 to 45 PCs and 40 to 50 card readers, Yoshina said.

"We have the machines that at that time ran the network, but we're not certain if those machines are compatible with any of the new software that has come out since 1996," he said.

Some of the computers were donated to schools and other organizations, and some were put into storage. The City and County of Honolulu has also borrowed the old punch-card system for its neighborhood board elections.

The city may want to purchase the card-punching machines but, if not, Yoshina hopes to sell them to another jurisdiction during the next couple of years. "The system is a good system; it just gets harder and harder to support," he said. "But there may be a jurisdiction on the mainland still using it."

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