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Operator error slowed primaries vote count

The state Office of Elections trouble-shot election equipment at Kaua’i

Community College yesterday in preparation for the Nov. 7 general

election.

“We are looking at areas where we can improve,” said Rex

Quidilla, a spokesman with the elections office.

Last Saturday’s primary

election went off largely without any problems on Kaua’i except for a minor

problem that resulted in about a one-hour delay in the release of the final

vote count for elections on the island, Quidilla said.

At 9 p.m., an

emplpoyee with Election Systems and Software (ES&S), the mainland company

that developed the automated voting system, mistakenly cleared a record of

accumulated votes from election equipment, Quidilla said.

“There was no

data lost,” he said. “We had to rebuild the data from backup diskettes. The

integrity of the election was never in doubt.”

The data was restored after

the mistake was spotted by Kaua’i County elections officials, Quidilla

said.

ES&S, based in Omaha, Neb., has a contract to conduct elections

statewide through 2006. Its system debuted in Hawai’i in the 1998 election,

drawing some criticism for ballot-counting problems that delayed final results.

In August this year, election officials characterized the problems as

relatively minor.

Staff writer Lester Chang can be reached at

245-3681 (ext. 225) and lchang@pulitzer.net

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