Hawaiians Embrace E-Voting

Amercia's first all-digital election is run by Everyone Counts

By David Herbert.

Honolulu became the first American city to run an all-digital election last week, allowing voters to cast their ballots online or over the phone for neighborhood board members. The 115,000 eligible voters can also use laptop computers at polling sites, but mail-in ballots are no longer an option in this year's election, which is running from May 6 to May 22.

The city previously experimented with online voting in 2007, and budgetary concerns appear to have pushed them towards using it exclusively this time around: The city claims it is saving more than $100,000 in mailing costs by going digital. "If you look at the world as it is today, people are looking for different ways to do business in a bad economy," said Lori Steele, CEO of Everyone Counts, the firm running the election for Honolulu.

While officials aren't releasing turnout figures yet to avoid influencing the election, Steele said voters are opting for the online ballot over the telephone option by a 2-to-1 margin. The number of votes cast online already exceeds the total from 2007 with more than a week of voting remaining.