Saturday, June 6, 2009

Honolulu Marks First Internet Voting Process

Two weeks ago, Honolulu, Hawaii held elections for the neighborhood council. Voters had the option of voting via telephone or online, making it the first all-digital election. According to all sources, the election was a success.

The election was held between May 6th and 8th and over 115,000 people took part. The all-digital approach saved the city $100,000. In fact, Honolulu's financial woes were the inspiration for the digital election, not a desire to set precedent. The election has allowed voters the option of voting online for the last two elections, but most chose to mail-in their ballots. Because the city provided postage and mailing materials, once its budget was cut this year, Honolulu had little choice; the city could not afford a mail-in vote.

While a spokesperson for Everyone Counts, the firm which handled the voting procedure, the process is "more secure than online banking," all-digital voting cannot be used for state elections because there is no vote verification process, which state law requires. Several days prior to voting, constituents received a passcode which allowed them access to the voting site. They also had to provide the last four digits of their social security number.

© C Harris Lynn, 2009

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