Even counting the County Clerk’s Office staff pulled from across the hall to help out during the contentious 2012 election, it still cost less to run that election than the two elections prior. That’s the finding of an outside auditor the County Council hired last year to compare the election costs. The audit, scheduled to be discussed Tuesday by the council Finance Committee, found that the 2012 election cost $1.5 million, compared to $1.8 million for the 2008 election, the most recent other presidential election. In 2010, when fewer voters came to the polls, the election also cost $1.5 million. The cost per ballot cast was $17 in 2008, $16.19 in 2010 and $14.40 in 2012, the audit found. The 2012 election proceedings became a hot political issue when former County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi fired the division chief and three other elections staff after alleging the former warehouse manager used the site to conduct his own sign-making and screen-printing business, and stored alcohol and held post-election drinking parties there.
That escalated into union grievance procedures reinstating the workers and defamation lawsuits against Kawauchi and former Council Chairman Dominic Yagong. The lawsuits were dismissed by a 3rd Circuit Court judge, but the case has been appealed.
Kawauchi had a hard time managing a disgruntled staff, several of whom resisted her management and failed to show up on primary election day. That culminated with late poll openings, incorrectly programmed cellphones, drivers taking election materials to the wrong precincts and other problems. The problems got so bad, the state Elections Office took over the county’s General Election.
Full Article: Audit finds ’12 election a bargain | West Hawaii Today.