Hawaii County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi appears to be taking seriously the County Council’s resolution that requires her to have her and her staff attend the elections workshops being offered by the other counties to help Hawaii County prepare for the November 6 election. Kawauchi and nine other employees representing Hawaii County Elections Office attended an elections workshop on Oahu Thursday. On Primary Day, several precincts opened late due to supply and delivery problems, and precinct officials had difficulty reaching the Hawaii County Elections office during the day to clear up any voter issues. The workshops were designed to help reinforce the tried-and-true elections procedures to prevent those problems in the future.
There was a workshop on Kaua’i on September 10. Hawaii County Deputy Clerk Steve Lopez, who says he’s had no elections experience prior to the August 11 Primary, attended along with three other Elections staff. Kawauchi did not attend. There was a second workshop on Maui on September 27, which six Hawaii County Elections Office staffers attended, including Kawauchi and not including Lopez.
The Kaua’i and Maui County workshops more directly addressed the kinds of activities that are similar to what Hawaii County, as a neighbor island, would experience during an election, under normal circumstances. Now with the State rescinding the authority of Hawaii County to handle anything other than voter registration and absentee ballots, the experiences will be somewhat helpful for the current activities but probably more helpful once Hawaii County’s authority to handle the State’s election responsibilities is restored.
Kawauchi gave interviews to Oahu television stations while on Oahu saying she wants an investigation into the Hawaii County Primary Day activities. She did not say what the results of her own investigations have been. Kawauchi presented a report to the Hawaii County Council on August 20. After that, she also met with precinct officials, chairs and Voter Assistance Officials, from polling places around the island. She has also set up a second round of meetings beginning next week and going through October 24, which according to her letter mailed to the precinct officials, is to “discuss any suggestions, concerns, or problems that may have occurred in the Primary Election to prepare for the upcoming 2012 General Election.”
Kawauchi and State Elections Chief Scott Nago went into a meeting with the State Attorney General at 3:30 p.m. Thursday. The meeting was still going on as of this writing, shortly after 5 p.m.