County election officials in all four counties will meet today with Office of Elections officials to review problems they encountered during Saturday’s Primary Election. They are hoping to make adjustments by the November 6 General Election. State officials will attempt to learn from Big Island County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi exactly what happened on Saturday that led to “chaos” and as many as 25 polling places opening late. At first, state elections officials heard there were three polling places of 40 that did not open on time, but by midday that number increased to 11 and then to 25. Rex Quidilla, spokesman for the State office of elections, said they learned about the delays from Oahu reporters who received press releases from Kawauchi.
The Big Island County Clerk, who was hired in December 2010 and had never run an election, did not return calls to elections officials or provide information to Big Island media. “The County Clerk has not communicated evenly nor openly with the media about any aspect of Hawaii County Elections, for weeks. And when one speaks with her, even in a press conference with multiple reporters, she goes in circles around questions, even very direct ones,” one Big Island reporter told Hawaii Reporter.
In an August 11 open letter to Hawaii County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi; her administrative assistant, Sharon Takata; Kathy Garson, the deputy Corporation Counsel attorney for the Elections Division; state Office of Elections staff, the Big Island Chronicle and Big Island Video News said they were “not on the media distribution list for the press releases, such as the one below coming out of the Hawaii County Clerk’s Office.”