Wednesday, July 23, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 62 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Hawaii county clerk 'strongly disagrees' with critics

By Gregg K. Kakesako

LAST UPDATED: 08:35 a.m. HST, Aug 17, 2012

Hawaii County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi says she was unaware that the state chief election officer was investigating her performance and “strongly disagrees” with his findings of failed leadership and poor planning in Saturday’s primary election.

In an e-mail sent Thursday night, Kawauchi said Chief Election Officer Scott Nago never contacted her or allowed her to respond to his report.

“This lack of communication on his part does not help to improve or address the significant issues that Hawaii County and the State Office of Elections obviously need to overcome to work together in partnership to run an election,” Kawauchi added.

 “I strongly disagree with the State Office of Elections and their assessment that there was failed leadership, poor planning and implementation by me on Primary Election Day. Yes there were errors that occurred on Primary Election Day.  However this is not a perfect system, mistakes will be made and 100 percent accuracy should not be expected. Mr. Nago is being overly critical and he is failing to see that the big picture goal is to get through the elections.”

 Nago described Kawa­uchi, who was overseeing her first election, as an inexperienced county clerk who lacked the confidence and the ability to articulate the nature of the problem to state election officials or the public. The report concludes that Kawa­uchi's performance unnecessarily undermined public confidence in the election.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie issued a proclamation Saturday to extend voting hours in Hawaii County by 90 minutes after reports that several of the county's 40 precincts had not opened as scheduled at 7 a.m.

Kawauchi responded: “I note that in the usual course, if an investigation is conducted, notice and an opportunity to respond is expected, prior to the release of the findings of the investigation to the public and the media. Regrettably, Mr. Nago did not provide me with an opportunity to respond to his report or to provide comment prior to release.”

She said she met with precinct officials this week and talked about “the solutions that we can work toward for an improved experience for the general election. 

“This tells me that Hawaii County is moving forward to doing everything that we can to have a fair and well run (general) election.”

 Print   Email   Comment | View 62 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
ufried wrote:
on August 17,2012 | 07:52AM
serious wrote:
Notice they all have the same DNA. Rather than larger goverment we need adult supervision.
on August 17,2012 | 08:05AM
waikiicapt wrote:
Ho Hum...just another day at our state elections office. Malama Solomon manages to clinch another election with 69 votes. You'd think she agree with her opponent (and ALL other Big Isle candidates) to have a recount, given the island wide problems. Nope! We'll all just bury our heads again in the sand of the plantation that we live on and forget anything happened. It's not about a fair, trustworthy, efficient, and accurate system. NO. It's about WINNING!!! And also keeping the power within the hands of a few to control our local politics. GOOD FOR YOU MALAMA SOLOMON. You have once again displayed why just as many (probably more) people in your district do not like you, do not trust you, and wanted you out of office. You know the old saying, you can't win, if you don't cheat. You can't cheat if it isn't close. And our corrupted elections officials on the Big Isle demonstrated once more...the Big Isle is the last reservoir of backwater, banana republic politics in Hawaii. Now that is something truly to be proud of, right? Hy Malama, I genuinely hope you are "enjoying" another dubious win.
on August 17,2012 | 08:47AM
allie wrote:
M. Solomon is a female version of old man mufi: A real tyrant and full of self-regard. Odd that she got elected at all as she has obvious contempt for non-Hawaiians.
on August 17,2012 | 10:43AM
YourGMisShowing wrote:
I reviewed Malama Solomon's campaign contributions and found she has taken $9250 from GMO chemical corporations and registered lobbyists... I find it very disturbing.
on August 17,2012 | 11:32AM
NiteMarcher wrote:
GMO (possibly Mansanto) is someone Hawaii citizens should be on the lookout for--we don't need any GMO down here in our islands. Watch for the lobbyists!
on August 17,2012 | 02:16PM
DanielO wrote:
Wassup with our Sate Government employees? Why all this pilikia being thrown about? Is this how we operate/govern now? Maybe they can convince People Magazine and/or Starz.com to set up permanent shop at all State office buildings and we can roll the dirty laundry straight from the hamper onto the public. Do your jobs to the best of your ability. That is what we taxpayers demand.Common Neil, Lead!
on August 17,2012 | 08:05AM
KekoaBradshaw wrote:
Kawauchi is an employee of the County of Hawaii, not the State.
on August 17,2012 | 11:30AM
BigOpu wrote:
I'm 100% sure of this. Scott Nago won't be getting an invitation to Jamae's next luau. He just laid her out on Front St.
on August 17,2012 | 08:08AM
PMA wrote:
I thought Nago was in charge of elections, the field general as he referred to Kawauchi in the article. He is the responsible party. Imagine your employer blaming you for their mistake...
on August 17,2012 | 08:31AM
Descartes22 wrote:
The problem is that each county has their own election personnel because county races are also in play. So the buck can be passed and doesn't stop with anyone. This lady was an inept and unqualified political appointee of the council chairman who got skunked in the mayoral race.
on August 17,2012 | 09:08AM
copperwire9 wrote:
No. Kawauchi is 'responsible' to the County Council chair. Take it up with him.
on August 17,2012 | 09:12AM
4r3A1 wrote:
hahaha Nago threw her to the dogs...trying to cover his okole.
on August 17,2012 | 05:38PM
loquaciousone wrote:
If Kawauchi believes everything was business as usual in the Hawaii County election she needs a reality check.
on August 17,2012 | 08:25AM
allie wrote:
true..but who appointed her and why?
on August 17,2012 | 08:25AM
KekoaBradshaw wrote:
Dominic Yagong, Hawaii County Council Chairman, appointed her and has continued to defend her throughout this whole months-long mess. Makes you wonder what their relationship really is.
on August 17,2012 | 11:32AM
ready2go wrote:
kawauchi is correct.
on August 17,2012 | 08:31AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Really. Prior to and during the election the shoe was on the other foot when Kawauchi contacted no one including the Office of Elections and no one could get in touch with her. On her own she went to the Attorney General's Office to investigate irregularities in voter files. She never contacted Nago or anyone else to ask for directions. Her investigations turned into a red herring when it was determined that the irregularities were par for the course and easily explainable. Her lack of experience should have prompted her to ask for help from those that have more experience. Then she would have been able to channel her energies toward preparing for the election instead of a wild goose chase. There was lack of communication all right but it was all her doing.
on August 17,2012 | 08:45AM
allie wrote:
interesting...with Solomon's racial hatred and contempt toward non-Hawaiians I am sure she is happy to sneak through again
on August 17,2012 | 10:45AM
elvisdiddy808 wrote:
Bruddah Scott trying to play the blame game and is quick to throw others under the bus. You could have just said that there were some situations which led to what happened instead of singling out and blaming someone else. Way to go with encouraging your staff to do the best job they can by blaming them for mistakes instead of working to improve. I hope that if you ever get credit for a job well done, you congratulate those who are really doing the work for you. People can only do so much with inept head officials who only can point fingers.
on August 17,2012 | 08:43AM
copperwire9 wrote:
She's not Nago's staff member. Talk to Dominic Yagong. HE's her boss. And you don't hear much from him on this matter do you?
on August 17,2012 | 09:14AM
NiteMarcher wrote:
If he's just hiding behind the luau leaf, then he shouldn't be a Director of the Council either...Dominic needs to "bonged" out himself!
on August 17,2012 | 02:23PM
WesleySMori wrote:
on August 17,2012 | 03:34PM
Wazdat wrote:
This state is a JOKE. why do we always have such INCOMPETENT people doing IMPORTANT jobs.
on August 17,2012 | 08:44AM
KekoaBradshaw wrote:
If you donm't like it, leave!
on August 17,2012 | 11:33AM
ufried wrote:
on August 17,2012 | 08:53AM
allie wrote:
Let us offer a hand to help her if she needs help. She needs to be bolstered!
on August 17,2012 | 10:44AM
WesleySMori wrote:
Well ALLIE", "BOLSTERED" or "BOOTED"???????
on August 17,2012 | 04:05PM
BRock wrote:
I would rather not hear excuses from this lady for a poorly managed job. She failed and that is the main concern. The question is how will the general election be done in November?
on August 17,2012 | 09:01AM
copperwire9 wrote:
Hopefully the general election will be run by Pat Nakamoto, the woman who'd run the last 12 elections, and whom Kawauchi would not allow to participate in htis one.
on August 17,2012 | 09:16AM
NiteMarcher wrote:
Sounds like you know much more than what we're all reading in the SA...and how sad that she didn't choose to accept help from someone with experience...leads me to wonder why?
on August 17,2012 | 02:26PM
WesleySMori wrote:
on August 17,2012 | 03:48PM
kiheilocal wrote:
Sounds like she is living in the "state of denial" Wake up!!!!
on August 17,2012 | 09:15AM
magicman1433 wrote:
The buck stops with Nago...maybe he's the one who should be investigated.
on August 17,2012 | 09:23AM
hikine wrote:
I agree. If I was her boss and knew this is her first time overseeing the election then I would make doubly sure everything was going smoothly. Everything should have been checked a week prior to the election.
on August 17,2012 | 04:35PM
copperwire9 wrote:
Read the earlier comments. Her boss is Dominic Yagong, NOT Scott Nago.
on August 17,2012 | 11:56PM
Ronin006 wrote:
Chief Election Officer Scott Nago is a coward for not confronting and questioning Kawauchi during his investigation, but that does not change the obvious, that being Kawauchi filed miserably in accomplishing her mission. By saying it was not her fault, she fails to understand that a leader is responsible for everything his or her organization does or does not do. Having said that, Nago also must accept some for the responsibility for not providing more oversight to Kawauchi who he says was overseeing her first election.
on August 17,2012 | 09:29AM
CriticalReader wrote:
Based on what Kawauchi is being quoted as saying in this article, it seems clear that Nago may have jumped the gun. Therefore, I'd expect there a plans being made to give Kawauchi a position in the UH Manoa Administration. And, to stop the speculation before it begins, Note: Mufi and Rockne Freitas WILL NOT be applying for the Hawaii County Clerk position.
on August 17,2012 | 09:35AM
HwnEagle wrote:
You stole my line... Maybe Kawauchi or Nago will get the same pay to do a lessor job soon. There's nothing left to accomplish so it's time to move on so we can do a national search for someone to take this job to the next level, of course he/she can re-apply. I'd tell you what the lessor job title is but...
on August 18,2012 | 12:26AM
Kaleo744 wrote:
Hey common everybody, just remember this is HAWAII POLITICS and they needed a fall person, it just so happens??? like most of the shenanigans that goes on thats what the top level people do..always an escape goat. Poor thing Jamae the least she could have a done was put on a better game face.
on August 17,2012 | 09:44AM
Maude3 wrote:
sorry ma'am, but 100% accuracy is expected. pls find a new job.
on August 17,2012 | 10:16AM
WesleySMori wrote:
on August 17,2012 | 03:53PM
s96813 wrote:
One of the main duties of each county clerk is to handle elections. You would think that Kawauchi would have known that. While Nago could have handled things differently, it looks like she did not handle things properly. If she had questions, she could have asked. I don't think she sees the "big picture." The fact that she may have gotten through the election is not what matters. She failed to carry out her duties properly and caused an unacceptable delay. The end result is that people are questioning the election process. We cannot have those kinds of issues here. We are not a third-world country where people do not trust the process. I hope they don't screw up the November election.
on August 17,2012 | 12:48PM
Bdpapa wrote:
Sorry, this is the only thing you do. We expect you to run this 1 day event without problems.
on August 17,2012 | 01:00PM
akuman808 wrote:
Nago is not the sharpest tool in the state elections tool box. But no matter, Tulsi and Ben won by large margins over the union endorsed candidates. That's what counts, our votes not inept election officials.
on August 17,2012 | 02:01PM
mcc wrote:
Why isn't 100% accuracy expected? We don't pay her to make mistakes...
on August 17,2012 | 02:36PM
WesleySMori wrote:
DOUBLE "YUP"!!!!!!!!!!!
on August 17,2012 | 03:55PM
rankei wrote:
It boggles my mind that she planned and prepared for this election thinking "100 percent accuracy should not be expected." I do expect !00 % accuracy. At the very least, it should be the goal. It's just like UH's Tom Apple expecting the athletic department to run in the red. Shouldn't the goal, the vision be to operate in the black? True leadership demands and expects excellence. We deserve better.
on August 17,2012 | 08:47PM
yskeulb wrote:
The better issue and question is WHO HIRED HER TO DO THIS JOB because whoever it was certainly didn't set the expectation that 100% accuracy is required and that it is supposed to be a perfect system. Auwe!
on August 17,2012 | 04:26PM
hikine wrote:
If Mr Nago was Ms Kawauchi's boss and he knew that this was her first time overseeing the election then why didn't he make sure things ran okay? Where was he doing during the election? Did he make sure that she was doing her job? The officials are making Ms Kawauchi as a scapegoat for their failure! There's always two sides of the story.
on August 17,2012 | 04:30PM
copperwire9 wrote:
He wasn't. Again, her boss is Dominic Yagong. Council Chair.
on August 17,2012 | 11:57PM
vernchs wrote:
Can you say lawsuit? If Kawauchi is dismissed, even a "country lawyer" would make all of her superiors look like a bunch of saps. If all of the voters got to vote and no one was denied, why all the fuss? Any voter fraud noted? Sounds like someone is trying to make a mountain out of molehill. Next election, vote all these buggas out!!!!
on August 17,2012 | 06:02PM
akamlaii wrote:
FIRE HER. Poor excuse for an employee - let alone one paid for by taxpayers. You do not admit in public that perfection is not an option, especially when you are dealing with a constitutional right - want to see legal ramifications for the rest of your life, Ms. Kawauchi? What a PR nightmare this lady is. She should be fired - not reassigned or demoted, but fired. The County of Hawai'i has lost too much money with this lady.
on August 17,2012 | 06:23PM
mferreira wrote:
That election official would not last long here in Juneau. I'm sure she would be fired or even replaced without any questions asked. Excuses, and more excuses. Sorry.
on August 17,2012 | 07:10PM
Changalang wrote:
All this proves is that she was un-phased by her pre-election meeting with the State AG's office and unimpressed by being investigated by the F.B.I. As long as The Mazine won, she knows she will be looked after by people she respects and loves. Wouldn't it be nice if anyone guilty of conspiracy to commit voter fraud had a lot of time to ponder it in the Penitentiary, on a completely different and unrelated thought ?
on August 17,2012 | 07:50PM
Changalang wrote:
Typo: "The Machine" ;)
on August 17,2012 | 07:51PM
Changalang wrote:
" Hilo, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) – The FBI has gotten involved in an investigation into allegations of voter fraud on the Big Island, sources told Hawaii News Now Friday. The elections office in Hilo run by Hawaii County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi shut down Monday for what she called an "audit" less than three weeks before the primary election, without further explanation. That raised concern among politicians and other elections officials in the state, especially since for the last five days, Kawauchi has not returned State Elections Officer Scott Nago's calls to brief him on problems in her office. " (27JUL2012; HawaiiNewsNow)
on August 17,2012 | 08:00PM
Changalang wrote:
" Hilo, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) – The FBI has gotten involved in an investigation into allegations of voter fraud on the Big Island, sources told Hawaii News Now Friday. The elections office in Hilo run by Hawaii County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi shut down Monday for what she called an "audit" less than three weeks before the primary election, without further explanation. That raised concern among politicians and other elections officials in the state, especially since for the last five days, Kawauchi has not returned State Elections Officer Scott Nago's calls to brief him on problems in her office. " (27JUL2012; HawaiiNewsNow)
on August 17,2012 | 08:01PM
Changalang wrote:
Sometimes one has to "double tap" the censor software. :)
on August 17,2012 | 08:05PM
Eradication wrote:
OMG people. Take a chill pill. O.k., there were some glitches and problems but nothing that wasn't solved asap. I think all of this "drama" is pretty silly actually. Read the latest edition of Time Magazine about the people of Mongolia and their quest for democracy. Makes us look pretty foolish with all this hakaka over a series of minor errors. Get over it. Move on. BTW, I voted absentee...
on August 17,2012 | 11:33PM
copperwire9 wrote:
It's because people care about their democracy that they are paying so much attention. It's a precious thing; it needs to be handled with great care and professionalism.
on August 18,2012 | 12:02AM
Changalang wrote:
Anyone who willfully dilutes the votes negates the cumulative will of We The People and it is a crime that carries a maximum term of 10 years per occurrence via Federal statute. Do the crime, do the time. Innocent parties do not need to worry. If you see something, say something.
on August 18,2012 | 06:21AM
Breaking News