Hawaii County Jamae Kawauchi and State Elections Chief Scott Nago met with the State Attorney General Thursday afternoon in a meeting that lasted from 3:30 p.m. until around 5:15 p.m. Both Nago and Kawauchi spoke to Oahu television reporters after the meeting.
Kawauchi asked for the meeting with the Attorney General after Tuesday’s announcement that the State was rescinding Hawaii County’s authority to conduct the State’s portion of elections on November 6. Nago’s five-page letter said the State would handle supply delivery to the polling locations, all telephone calls from the precinct officials on November 6, and ballot delivery, collection, and counting. The County will handle voter registration and absentee ballots. The move had the support of Governor Neil Abercrombie. The letter provides detailed instructions on what the State plans to do, and what material they expect to receive from Hawaii County.
Thursday’s meeting turned out to be more about ironing out details of the State’s decision. In talking to reporters, Nago repeated what was in the letter about what the County would do and what the State would do.
Kawauchi looked tired after the meeting, and said, “I apologize to Hawaii County voters and as well as to voters in the State.”
Before the meeting she spoke of her desire to have an investigation into what happened on Primary Day. After the meeting, she did not mention whether the Attorney General agreed to an investigation.
Prior to the meeting she also said, “We want to make sure we are running the election together and that the State and County have full support of each other, and again, for the best interest of the community, we want to make sure that it’s a well run, fair election.”
The State will send Lori Tomczyk to run the Hawaii County operations in space in the State Office Building in Hilo. The State plans to hire and train five other election staff in Hawaii County, and use existing funds not expected to exceed $50,000.
State Elections Office spokesman Rex Quidilla said on Tuesday the State’s decision was a difficult one to make, but necessary to ensure a good election on November 6. Kawauchi had announced to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald last week that she planned to start delivery the Election Day supplies as early as this week, more than four weeks before the election. Local precinct officials had expressed concern about where the supplies would be delivered and who would have custody of them for the month.