Hawaii News Now is reporting that the latest in the Hawaii County elections office issues is a possible voter fraud case. Keoki Kerr, reporting on the matter Thursday, said they got the information from a law enforcement source and the probe is focusing on allegations that some absentee ballots were improperly “doctored.” (See Kerr’s story and any followups at www.hawaiinewsnow.com)
It’s not clear how that would happen nor what exactly might have been done.
On Wednesday, State Elections Chief Scott Nago sent a scathing letter to Hawaii County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi expressing concern about the Hawaii County elections readiness and process. His major concern was a complete lack of communication between the Hawaii County Elections Office and the other elections offices in the state, which for decades have worked collaboratively to make sure elections go smoothly.
At its May 30 meeting, the State Elections Commission questioned Hawaii County’s readiness for the election, queried County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi on her elections experience (of which she acknowledged she had none), and recommended the subject be reviewed at a Hawaii County Council meeting. Council member Dennis “Fresh” Onishi asked chair Dominic Yagong to put the matter on the agenda, but Yagong declined to do so. Onishi said Thursday he wrote a letter earlier this week to State Elections Chief Nago asking the state to step in after the Elections Office was unexpectedly closed on Monday and County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi was providing little explanation.
Nago said Wednesday his office has no direct jurisdiction over the Hawaii County Clerk even regarding elections. The Clerk reports to the Chair of the Hawaii County Council.
In his letter to Kawauchi, Nago asked her to please respond to his repeated phone calls and emails, after she closed the office to review voter lists and look for problems with voter lists. “It is imperative that you discuss this matter with us so we may have a better understanding of the scope of the problem,” Nago said. He called her behavior “simply unacceptable on the part of a fellow election administrator.”
Kawauchi reportedly met with the State Attorney General Thursday.
Neither Kawauchi nor Yagong have responded to a formal request for a response from Big Island News Center, although Yagong did call Thursday morning and say he did not think the letter from Scott Nago was of serious concern.