Voting machines tested ahead of general election, helps to ensure election integrity

Election 2020

HONOLULU (KHON2) — With the general election less than four weeks away, the state Office of Elections is busy gearing up for the big day.

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Most registered voters likely already received their official mail-in ballot in the mail. For those who prefer to cast their vote in person, voter service centers will open in 10 days.

On Saturday, election officials were testing equipment to ensure that everything is working properly.

The general election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

While officials said that the majority of the votes will likely be mailed in, people can still vote in person. There will be eight voter service centers statewide. They’ll open Oct. 20 through Nov. 3.

Monday to Saturday hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. On election day, the voter service centers will open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

Election officials were busy getting the machines ready.

“What they’re doing is they’re just certifying the system to make sure they’re counting properly,” explained Hawaii Office of Elections Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago.

Hart InterCivic is providing the equipment.

Simon Saenz, a project manager for Hart InterCivic, said that part of the testing process includes looking for any issues that happen when a ballot is put through the machine.

“There’s always going to be something ’cause this is mechanical equipment. There’s moving parts. Sometimes, it might be something as simple as power going out or a motor. It’s all stuff that we run through to make sure it’s working so when we’re actually voting, the equipment will be working correctly,” Saenz explained.

A select group of people conduct the test.

“They’re official observers from the different political parties, the community groups, groups within the community. They serve as the eyes and ears of the public,” Nago said.

After any issues are fixed and the official observers from each party confirm everything is in order, the machines are certified and secured. The process ensures the integrity of the election.

“It’s important to make sure the equipment is running correctly so that the public has confidence that the votes are being captured and recorded correctly as the voter intended or wanted it to.”

Saenz said that next week, the machines that count mail-in ballots will be tested.

If you’re voting by mail, make sure to sign your ballot to validate it and drop it in the mail no later than October 27.

You can also drop your mail-in ballot in any one of the more than 40 places of deposit statewide or at a voter service center by 7 p.m. on election day.

Click here to check if your ballot has been received. Nago said it usually takes two to three days for them to receive a ballot after it’s been mailed.

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