Election prep underway: Take a tour of the sorting facility for Oahu’s mail-in ballots

With the general election five days away, Casey Lund has an exclusive look at the facility that validates and secures ballots from Oahu voters.
Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 10:25 AM HST|Updated: Nov. 3, 2022 at 12:05 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With the general election Tuesday, county and state elections officials are already busy sorting mail-in ballots as they prepare to count votes.

City Elections Administrator Rex Quidilla gave HNN a tour of the county’s sorting facility at Honolulu’s airport.

”What we’re doing right now is orienting the pieces,” said Quidilla, as he referenced around 10 election workers who were putting mail-in ballots in the correct direction so they can eventually be sorted by a large machine.

After the mail-in ballots are organized, they are carried in large plastic containers to a caged area where they are loaded into the machine.

”We’re going to run it through our scanner sorter,” added Quidilla. “That used to be a manual process. Now we use automation to accomplish this.”

Hundreds of ballots are processed in a matter of minutes.

The machine scans a barcode and picks out ballot envelopes that have an issue ― like a missing signature.

”All the pieces that don’t go through the machine or haven’t been validated, we follow up with those voters, we cage up all the materials, and then the Office of Elections picks it up every day,” said Quidilla.

“So they can send it over the state Capitol, open those envelopes and start counting them.”

If a voter’s ballot does have an issue, the county elections office sends a letter to that voter notifying them of the problem. That voter has until five days after the election to resolve the issue and submit a new ballot.

For more information on how to vote and the elections process, visit elections.hawaii.gov