Oahu Hosts World's First All-Digital Election

Everyone Counts helps Hawaii revolutionize voting

Instead of mail-in ballots, voters can use computers to choose their neighborhood board candidates this year. It is the world's first all-digital election, with technology provided by the San Diego-based company Everyone Counts.

"This election is being watched throughout the world as a model for how to better serve voters and reduce costs for government officials," Everyone Counts CEO Lori Steele said.

Voters simply enter a nine-digit pass code sent to them by the city, along with the last four digits of their Social Security number, and vote online or by telephone.

Waikiki Neighborhood Board chairman Bob Finley tried the system.

"I certainly hope we'll have more voters, because it's new, it's different, it's exciting and it's something you can do from home. You don't have to drive anywhere. If you don't have a computer, you can make a phone call," Finley said.

The company has provided online voting for military members in an Australian parliamentary election and for city elections in Swindon, England, but never before has an election been held without ballots in walk-in voting booths.

"We do voting surveys after our elections and discover that with regard to believing it's secure, thinking it's easy, wanting to do it again, the numbers are always in the high 90 percents," Steele said.

The city said it expects to spend $95,000 on the election, saving more than $100,000 in postage and staffing costs, since workers will not have to open and count paper ballots.

People without computers can use special booths to vote at City Hall, Kapolei Hale and Windward City Shopping Center.

Voting will continue in this election until 11:30 p.m. on May 22.

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