Hawaii's Internet Voting Experiment

The Hawaiians are going to be experimenting with Internet voting in neighborhood board elections in Honolulu. As the Honolulu Advertizer notes,

The city is inviting Honolulu residents to vote online for the first time, offering the option of casting ballots via the Internet for this year’s neighborhood boards election.

“This pilot project will enable more people to participate in this year’s election in a cost-effective way,” said Joan Manke, executive secretary of the Neighborhood Commission, the citizens group that oversees O’ahu’s 32 neighborhood boards.

The elections, held every two years, were previously held only by mail, and to save taxpayers money, ballots were not mailed out for uncontested races. In the 2005 elections, only 25 percent of the 198,405 ballots that the city mailed out were returned.

To make online voting happen, the city teamed up with Commercial Data Systems Inc. The Hawai’i company has more than 18 years’ experience in providing secure online data services. The company created and operates the balloting system for Kids Voting Hawai’i, the online program that allows schoolchildren to cast votes for mock elections that parallel the real ones. “Online voting is not to be confused with electronic voting machines,” Manke said. “Neighborhood board voters will be allowed to vote securely from any computer with Internet access, as opposed to the electronic voting machines used in state elections.”