HONOLULU (KHON2) — The 2022 General Election is coming up quickly. Ballots are arriving by mail this week and ballot drop boxes are opening up, but a strange message sent out to thousands of Hawaii Island voters had many confused.
According to Hawaii Island officials, Big Island voters received a surprising text message Thursday afternoon.
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“People were sending me texts say, hey, look, what I got. This is saying, I already voted when I didn’t get my ballot yet,” said Jon Henricks, Hawaii County Clerk.
Big Island voters told KHON2 they were confused by the message that was sent out by the county, stating they had already voted in the General Election. However, they had not received their ballot yet.
“Our phone lines lit up and we were getting emails in between that time,” Henricks said.
The Hawaii County Clerk said the messages went out around 3:50 p.m. to voters who utilize BallotTrax. It’s a service that launched statewide this year to help voters keep an eye on their ballot via email, text or phone. The County said it was simply a human entry error.
“Immediately, we looked into it and we got on the phone and started coordinating a response with the State Office of Elections and our vendor. The first thing we really wanted to do as quickly as possible was to send a follow up message,” Henrick said.
That follow-up message ensuring voters that it was truly an error came out around 4:45 p.m. The County Clerk said the BallotTrax system was fixed 5:30 a.m. Friday.
Officials said it was an isolated incident and only impacted the Hawaii County system. The error doesn’t affect Hawaii Island voters’ ballots, voter registration status or ability to vote in the General Election.
“For anybody that may be concerned that there was a problem with the vendor or that our system was compromised or hacked, or there was a glitch with software. None of that is true,” Henricks said.
So far, the Hawaii County Elections Division has issued 111,550 ballots and received 28 back.
Officials said they’re working together to prevent another mistake.
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“So we want to make people aware of that, but also just to be clear that we don’t take it lightly and that we’re definitely going to improve when it comes to those things,” Henricks said.