After hours of testimony on Friday, the State Elections Commission would not discuss whether Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago’s job was on the line. Commissioners decided to form three sub-committees that would be dispatched across the state — one for Maui, the Big Island and on Oahu. Commissioner Bill Marston told a packed room at the State Office Building, they will be announcing their decision or any changes in their next meeting on Oct. 3. “There was no storm, there was no natural disaster other than the natural disaster of the chief elections officer,” said Sen. Sam Slom. One week after make-up voting for thousands of storm-battered residents on the Big Island, Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago found himself in the middle of the storm, once again blistered with accusations about a botched election. “This election is permanently tainted,” said Hawaii County Councilmember Brenda Ford.
Several people slammed Nago, saying he forced an election too soon, after a big smack from Tropical Storm Iselle. One testifier said because of the power outage one a candidate couldn’t even reach her own staff during the election. “It should have been at least two weeks after, so we could have anticipated the damage, responded to the damage, and we could have repaired the damage,” said Ford.
Nago also defended his decision to only use electronic voting, in an effort to avoid another potential mishap. “When we went to open the machines on Saturday morning, it was wet because of the night before, so we didn’t want to take that chance,” said Nago.