The Hawaii County elections office and Primary Day issues have been a hot topic for newspapers, online news sites, and radio and television stations statewide. Writing in Friday’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser, political commentator Richard Borreca suggested the snafus in Hawaii County have created a movement to seriously look at changing the way we vote.
Borreca talked about how voting has been in the state. He says in 1998, the State Office of Elections was created and a low-key professional staff assembled to make sure elections run smoothly.
“Their good work was marred this year by whatever it was that happened on Hawaii island that caused the new county clerk, Jamae Kawauchi, to fumble opening the precincts on time. It was so bad that Gov. Neil Abercrombie rightly had to step in and order that Hawaii island’s polling stations remain open for an extra 90 minutes.
“That caused Abercrombie to call for Hawaii to go to a total vote-by-mail system, saying it would be more convenient. Hawaii is one of 28 states that already allow permanent absentee voting with voters mailed a ballot. The key is not in how many Hawaii voters use it (more than 40 percent) but in Hawaii’s response rate.”
Borreca says with some of the State’s existing voting equipment, we could easily turn to vote by mail. Other states do it, and we could too. He says in Honolulu, around 95% of absentee-by-mail voters returned their ballots.
Read Borreca’s column in the Honolulu Star Advertiser online edition at http://www.staradvertiser.com/editorialspremium/20120817_Time_to_bring_voting_into_the_21st_century.html
Note: the Star Advertiser offers some articles at no charge, with charges for its premium online content. The fee for full online access is around $25 per year for Hawaii Island residents.