Hawaii County police say they have launched an investigation into an allegation of voter fraud on the Big Island. In a brief statement sent out at 4:26 p.m. today, Capt. Mitchell Kanehailua of the Criminal Investigation Division said the investigation is based on information provided by the Hawaii County Office of Elections involving elections conducted in 2010. According to Kanehailua’s statement, voter fraud is a class “C” felony. Such crimes carry a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi, who oversees the county’s Election Division, could not be reached for comment on whether the police investigation is related to a three-day “audit” she conducted of Big Island voter rolls that ended July 23. She issued a statement shortly after 5 p.m. today saying her office would have no comment on the police investigation. The statement referred questions about it to Kanehailua. However, Kanehailua’s earlier statement said “no other details will be released” because the investigation into the matter is ongoing.
The July audit became one of several areas of contention between Kawauchi and state elections officials, who said they were not informed of the audit until it was nearly complete. At a press conference a week after the audit, Kawauchi said her review had found that between 50 and 60 people were registered to vote more than once in the 2010 election, and five people had voted twice.