A possible voter fraud case on the Big Island is the subject of an investigation, a law enforcement source told Hawaii News Now Thursday. The probe focuses on allegations that some absentee ballots were improperly “doctored,” the source said. A second source, a state government employee, said Hawaii County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi spent much of Thursday afternoon meeting with a lawyer at the state Attorney General’s office in Honolulu. Further details about the allegations or about what she spent hours meeting with a deputy attorney general about were not available Thursday night. With just 15 days to go until the primary election, Hawaii County election officials are re-sending some voter registration notices after a first batch was sent with wrong information. The state’s chief election officer, Scott Nago, is worried the mix-up could prompt candidates to challenge election outcomes and upset that county clerk has not briefed him on what’s happening since she closed her office for an audit on Monday.
The problems are with the yellow voter registration notices that confirm voters’ addresses and tell them which polling place to go to on primary election day, Saturday, Aug. 11. Kawauchi has told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald some of the cards in the first mailing directed voters to incorrect polling places, problems she attributed to re-districting this year, which changed the boundaries of some districts.
In a news release Wednesday, the clerk’s office said new yellow cards will be sent to voters who were mis-assigned to incorrect polling places. The mis-assignments affected fewer than 175 voters on two streets, the release said. As of Wednesday, 5,212 yellow cards were returned to the office because their forwarding address had expired, the mail was undeliverable and other reasons, the release said. The county elections division will make every effort to contact those voters, the release said.