Did Hawaii and Honolulu Defy Own Laws, Science, and Common Sense?

Update 09/15:  Maui judge formalizes ruling that bans electronic voting <read>

Update 05/28: [Former] U.S. EAC Chair Cashes In to Head Company Running ‘All-Digital’ Elections <read>

Update 05/26: Voting Drops 83 Percent In All-Digital Election <read>

Perhaps there is more to it than the PR Releases disguised as news stories:

About 7,300 people voted this year, compared to 44,000 people who voted in the last neighborhood board race in 2007.

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Honolulu: Everyone Counts, a vendor, generates publicity for election conducted via internet and telephone: <press release> Somehow this same organization convinced the Huffington Post to publish a similar puff piece written by an Everyone Counts executive: <read post>

For too long we have tolerated the idea that elections should be difficult. If you think voting is inconvenient, too bad for you, say pundits. And if elections are expensive and a logistical nightmare to run, oh well, at least there aren’t too many of them.

America’s newest state, our southernmost state, has a different idea. Right now, as you read this article on the Internet, citizens of Honolulu are voting in America’s first all-digital online and telephone election. Residents of neighborhoods with contested board seats received pass-codes in the mail, along with a Web address and a phone number allowing them to vote at any time, day or night, from anywhere in the world.

Recall that the telephone and internet are less than secure.  We have convered the risks of internet voting several times <read>.  We are amazed that anyone would trust the phone system, realizing that any phone can be tapped, the phone companies and the NSA have demonstrated their ability to ignore law and listen in to any and all phone calls.

But wait, there are more problems:  Hawaii used Hart Interactive voting machines in 2008, yet they also violate Hawaii law in several ways, including apparently a prohibition on transmitting votes over the internet or phone lines.  Now a judge has agreed with a citizen suit and has issued an injunction against their use in 2010.  Brad Blog has a summary <read>.  From a Disappeared News article quoted by Brad:

1. The use of electronic voting machines was not adopted through lawful rulemaking in accordance with the Hawai’i Administrative Procedure Act (HAPA).

2. The use of the Internet and/or telephone lines to transmit vote counts was not adopted through lawful rulemaking (HAPA).

3. The use of the Internet and/or telephone lines to transmit vote counts is not allowed under current state law.

Last year Ellen Theisen of VotersUnite.org wrote an extensive report on the perils of outsourcing elections.  Hawaii was one of the highlighted jurisdictions in the study.  The index entry summarizes the situation:

Hawaii. State officials have handed elections to voting system vendors. Now the state cannot run elections without a vendor.

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