Voter group wants Big Island election investigation

By Lara Yamada
Published On: Oct 03 2012 10:16:29 PM HST
Updated On: Oct 03 2012 11:11:50 PM HST

The Hawaii County elections council reacts to state taking over elections while the county chair defends County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi.

HONOLULU -

"You know, this stuff has got to end," said Hawaii County chair Dominic Yagong.

"This year has been a particularly challenging year for a number of reasons, which have all been well documented," said Hawaii Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago.

A day after an unprecedented move by the state to take over elections on the Big Island the county's chair is biting back and defending embattled County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi.

"I think Jamae will admit there are things she could have handled better, and at the same time, in some cases I think she's been unfairly targeted," said Yagong.

"Big Island voters need to trust that their vote counts," began Donna Oda, who is the Co-President for the Hawaii League of Women Voters.

On Tuesday, the organization recommended the state take another big step by launching an investigation into what lead up to problems on primary day.

"Questionable practices might generate candidate lawsuits which are always costly to the taxpayers," said Oda.

Yagong said he welcomes a full investigation. He believes it could expose a darker side to what caused a string of problems.

"Do you think it was deliberately done?" asked KITV Reporter Lara Yamada.

"There are some things that someone needs to investigate and ask the pertinent questions," he said.

Yagong questioned if something else led to workers showing up late, phones incorrectly programmed, polling cans poorly packed, and drivers going to the wrong place - all seemingly simple tasks he says.

But error or egregious act, he said he too, wants nothing more than the same end result.

"It still comes down to really making sure that what we face is a good general election," said Yagong.

A spokesperson for the state elections commission told KITV on Wednesday, even with a recommendation to launch an investigation; it's unlikely it would happen before the general.

After repeated calls to County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi's office, she released a statement Wednesday night saying she's requested a meeting Thursday with the State Office of Elections at the attorney general's office.
 

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