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Ballot shortages at 19 precincts delay election results

By Gregg K. Kakesako & Mary Vorsino

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 11:18 p.m. HST, Nov 06, 2012


Paper ballots were rushed out to 19 Hawaii polling places that ran out this evening, forcing polls to remain open beyond the scheduled 6 p.m. closing time. 

Election results were delayed nearly three hours. At about 8 p.m., five polls remained open.

Election officials said people who were in line at 6 p.m. would still be allowed to vote. Long lines were reported at single electronic voting machine at some polling places.

The polling places that have run out included Hahaione Elementary, Holy Trinity Church in Hawaii Kai, August Ahrens Elementary in Waipahu, Waianae Intermediate and Kainalu Elementary in Kailua, Wilson Elementary, Kaimuki High, Salt Lake Elementary, Maili Elementary, Leilehua Elementary, Manana Elementary, Leilahua High, Kalaheo High, Hokulani Elementary, Mililani District Park and Kaleiopuu Elementary.

Rex Quidilla, state elections office spokesman, said higher than expected turnout and underestimations about the number of ballots needed at each polling place caused the shortage.

But voter turnout was below the turnout in the 2008 presidential election. In the fourth turnout, about 62 percent of the 702,765 registered voters cast ballots this year compared to 66 percent in 2008. A final turnout count will not be available until sometime Wednesday morning.

Earlier in the night, Quidilla urged people to remain in line to vote.

“We are rushing to get ballots to them,” he said. “We can only surmise that we are testing the patience of some voters and we apologize.”

At Waianae Intermediate, Mary-Elizabeth Natividad, 32, of Waianae, said the line to vote at the electronic voting machine was growing long and some people were leaving without voting.

“People are actually walking away,” she said. “They’re not going to get to vote.”

Earlier, voting at the state’s 233 precincts had been proceeding “fairly smoothly” as island voters cast their ballot for president, mayor and several congressional races in today's general election.

Quidilla said there have been minor problems for voters who didn’t participate in the Aug. 11 primary.

This is the first time they are voting following reapportionment, which takes place every 10 years, and “some of their polling places have been changed,” he added. 

At 7 a.m. almost all of the 142 polling places on Oahu; 40 in Hawaii County; 35 on Maui; 16 on Kaui opened on time.

The only exception was in Central Oahu where a precinct at Mililani High School opened 10 minutes late because of “a misunderstanding” during the initial setting up process, said Quidilla.

There also was a minor hitch in the 23rd District at Precinct 4 at Noelani Elementary School with the ballot scanner.

Because the scanner wouldn’t start up, precinct workers had voters place their ballots in a sealed bin to be scanned once the machine was fixed.

Quidilla said “there are procedures in place to address problems like the faulty scanner.”

State elections especially are concerned about operations in Hawaii County where they took over the operations after losing confidence in the ability of County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi.

Thirteen precincts opened late during the August primary because of missteps, which were blamed on Kawauchi. That led to Gov. Neil Abercrombie to extend voting hours in Hawaii County by 90 minutes. It was the first time since 1966 that polling hours were extended. Some polling places on Oahu had their hours extended in 1966 because of bad weather. The delays — up to one hour at two Hawaii County polling places — eroded public confidence in the system,

State Ballot Operations Section Head Lori Tomczyk was dispatched to Hawaii County to oversee the operations from a control and counting center in the Hilo State Office Building. County Clerk Kawauchi is still responsible for voter registration and absentee ballots.

Quidilla said all of Hawaii County’s 40 polling places opened on time and without any incidents.

Tomczyk said there were only a “few small issues” in Hawaii County, but they were quickly resolved.

“Everything appears to be moving and progressing well,” she added.

On Kauai, County Elections Administrator Lyndon Yoshioka said there seemed to be more activity at Kauai’s 16 polling places based on the calls his office were getting.

“Other than that,” Yoshioka added, “everything appears to be okay and rather routine.”

On Maui, voter turnout appeared to be brisk by mid-morning which made Maui County Clerk Jeff Kuwata hopeful for a better turnout than the August primary. Maui had the lowest turnout at 30.6 percent, followed by Kauai’s 39.2 percent

On Oahu, the line at Noelani Elementary School cafeteria snaked down the walkway while more than three dozen voters stood in a light drizzle. More than 4,100 people are registered to vote in this precinct.

Lydia Alvarez was first in line with her coffee mug and an umbrella at 6:30 a.m. as polls workers rushed to complete preparations.

Alvarez said she was celebrating her birthday by casting a paper ballot early so she would be able to open her print shop in Kalihi on time. She has been voting since turning 18 in 1974.

Also voting early arriving a few minutes after Alvarez was Neil Asaoka who has been voting at Noelani for the past 40 years.

The local construction executive said he wanted to vote early so “I wouldn’t be sidetracked during the day.”

University of Hawaii graduate students Charles Nguyen and Damiano Mauro cast their early ballots at Noelani for Barrack Obama for president and Kirk Caldwell, who once served Manoa as a state House member, for Honolulu mayor.

Mauro said his vote for Obama was because he believed he is “the least dangerous person.”

Nguyen said Obama “saved our bacon during the last four years,” especially in the area of economic recovery.

Mauro said he believes that former Gov. Ben Cayetano came off as “too aggressive” in his bid to become Honolulu mayor and that rail is “the next logical step” for Oahu.

Charles Lawrence, a Noelani voter for the past four years, said he voted for Caldwell because “the rail issue is important to me. I think we do need rail.”

There are 705,660 people registered to vote in today’s general election.

The polls close at 6 p.m. The first results printout will be released once the final polling place is closed, and the state is scheduled to begin releasing results every hour starting at about 7 p.m.

There are 233 polling places across the state, nine fewer than in the last election in 2010. About one third of the voters statewide have been assigned a different polling place this year because of reapportionment, which takes place every ten years.

In the Aug. 11 primary election, 42.3 percent, or 290,653 of the state’s 687,500 registered voters, cast ballots.

Sixty-six percent of registered Hawaii voters cast their ballots in the 2008 general election — the last presidential election four years ago.






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Maneki_Neko wrote:
I am sure that after today, no matter who wins what, we will all come together and put away the bad feelings, end the divisiveness, warmly welcome the winners and work together in unity for a better Hawaii and a better USA.

hahahahahahahah...nah, nah, nah, nah.....hahahaha.


on November 6,2012 | 07:50AM
Spikette wrote:
It appears you are right that nothing will change due to the tea party congresspersons will continue to refuse to compromise with even their own party conservative and liberal members. It's their way or the highway, sad but true.
on November 6,2012 | 08:34AM
Oye_Como_Va wrote:
The only thing that will bring the country together would be another December 7th incident or the collapse of the U.S. economy. Other than that we will continue to roll along as corrupt as usual. For Hawaii it will be no different since it is a one party state that is behind the times.
on November 6,2012 | 06:08PM
ufried wrote:
A NEW DAY IS DAWNING... TIME FOR REAL CHANGE!!!!!!
on November 6,2012 | 09:13AM
Oye_Como_Va wrote:
Businesss as usual.
on November 6,2012 | 06:08PM
ufried wrote:
TIME FOR REAL CHANGE!!!!!
on November 6,2012 | 09:14AM
primo1 wrote:
Jon Yoshimura appeared to be guilty of electioneering (campaigning within 200 ft. of a polling place) this morning when I went to cast my vote at Lanakila Elementary. I reported the offense to one of the precinct officials and she promptly grabbed a map showing the boundaries within which campaigning could not take place. As she walked out toward the intersection of Kuakini and Palama with the intent to warn him, he promptly snaked his way down Palama St. Please don't let this clown back into office...
on November 6,2012 | 10:38AM
Oye_Como_Va wrote:
Jon Yoshimura is an upstanding politician. His only fault as that he got caught under the influence of alcohol. That's all, he didn't kill anyone one , yet.
on November 6,2012 | 03:20PM
false wrote:
Hawaii's election officials actually do a pretty good job of ensuring a fair and efficient election process. Even the Big Island problems were MINOR compared to what is occurring in some mainland states where the chief election officers are ACTIVE PARTISANS, who make no pretense of being evenhanded.

In the lead up to the election, government officials in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania, all "battleground states," have attempted to suppress voting in Democratic-leaning communities, through reduced opportunities for early voting, through the "purging" of voter rolls, through strict photo ID laws they KNEW would have a "disparate impact" on blacks, latinos, the elderly and college students. In addition, there were Republican-financed voter registration drives which destroyed or altered registration forms for Democratic voters. And there are conservative efforts in minority polling places which aim to tie up voting in those polling places in the hope the resulting long lines will discourage minority voters to the detriment of the Democrats.

These activities are reprehensible enough when organized by the Republican Party and its surrogate organizations. But when it is Republican elected officials, governors and Secretaries of State engaging in such behavior, they are betraying their oaths of office and NO citizens, regardless of party, should stand for this. And the news media have to stop hiding behind their false "objectivity" which pretends BOTH PARTIES are engaged in similar efforts. That is completely false. This behavior is coming almost completely by one party, the Republicans. And the commercial press enables this voter suppression by refusing to call out the culprits, to name names.


on November 6,2012 | 12:11PM
Oye_Como_Va wrote:
Democrats sweep the elections! Consevatives sent packing with their tails between their legs. Four more years of globetrotting and parties! Party on dudes! Tax the rich guys bring them to their hands & knees. Then we can work on getting all the politicians on the same program as the people too.
on November 6,2012 | 03:18PM
harley1 wrote:
i just heard on KGMB that 5 polling places on Oahu are running out of or have run out of ballots. What's up with that Mr. Election Official Nagao? Seems like you're so worried about the Big Island that you forgot about your own backyard. Talk about the kettle calling the pot black.
on November 6,2012 | 04:09PM
harley1 wrote:
Now it's 16 polling places. How can you underestimate the number of voters? You already know the number of registered voters, subtract the absentee ballots, and you get the number of paper ballots needed. And only one electronic voting machine per site? What's up with that Mr. Nagao?
on November 6,2012 | 05:08PM
mellishi wrote:
...its get worse, more polling places without ballots and it will be a long, long time before the taxi cab drivers get to the polling sites (given that many of the cab drivers do not know where they are going - other than a Waikiki hotel!!!)-- its like taking a Korean taxi driver to drive me to a well known local neighborhood and he is asking the passenger, how to get there....can you imagine getting the ballots to the outlying area's like Waianae ---wouldn't it be easier to have the HFD helicopter drop these outlying sites their ballots to speed up the process!!!
on November 6,2012 | 05:20PM
magicman1433 wrote:
Totally agree...At what point will the man at the top be held responsible?
on November 6,2012 | 05:23PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Ran out of ballots.....send in the clowns.....this is so astonishingly incompetent it is beyond belief.
on November 6,2012 | 05:27PM
Jireton wrote:
Jamae Kawauchi must be laughing out loud tonight.
on November 6,2012 | 07:05PM
pauliboy wrote:
Talk about Margin of Error.
on November 6,2012 | 05:24PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Abercrombie is pretending that running out of ballots is, in his words, "a little bit of pilikia". Dolt.
on November 6,2012 | 05:33PM
Oye_Como_Va wrote:
Re-elect Governor Neil Abercrombie & Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz for their second term. They have done such tremendous jobs in improving the state except eliminating the public unions right to get a fair contract.
on November 6,2012 | 06:13PM
Dolphin743 wrote:
Does anyone besides me think that the "running out of ballots" problem is a little more serious than Abercrombie is acknowledging?
on November 6,2012 | 07:58PM
Mana07 wrote:
Ballot shortages! Typical ineptness! I hope you dems get eveything you deserve. More unemployment, higher taxes, selling out to foreign governments.....enjoy...
on November 6,2012 | 08:05PM
Aikanaka wrote:
someone has some explaining to do...how can the elections office underestimate the turnout? some body messed up big time. the polling place I went to apparently was running low on ballots by 2:00 pm. by 5:00 pm they were out of all paper ballots. additional paper ballots finally arrived at around 7:00 pm. this is unacceptable.
on November 6,2012 | 08:22PM
lfb489 wrote:
Who ever was in charge of Honolulu voting did not do a satisfactory job. There was only 1 ballot machine which created long lines. Sad they use the poor excuse of higher than anticipated voter for running out of ballots.
on November 7,2012 | 09:05AM
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