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Abercrombie wants all mail-in voting, probe of Elections Office

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 02:11 p.m. HST, Nov 26, 2012

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has asked the state attorney general to investigate the Office of Elections and says he will propose an all mail-in voting system for Hawaii in the wake of the paper ballot shortage that led to long lines of frustrated voters at scores of Oahu polling places this month.

"This January, I will be proposing as part of my legislative package a measure to move our state toward 100 percent mail-in voting, which has been effective in other parts of the country. Moreover, absentee ballots have seen a steady increase and use over the last several elections, and there has been no evidence to question the accuracy and security of these ballots relative to traditional methods," Abercrombie said in a statement issued this afternoon.

"I have also asked Attorney General David Louie to investigate the State Office of Elections and the circumstances that resulted in a shortage of paper ballots at numerous Oahu polling places on Nov. 6. This serious problem has tarnished the election process and eroded public confidence."

The statement noted that the governor's office does not have authority to oversee the Office of Elections. But, he said, "we must ensure that our voting process runs smoothly and efficiently."

"I do not plan to simply stand on the side and wait to see what the Office of Elections' own review may bring. At a minimum, we must consider new technologies that can help bring our election process into the 21st Century," he said.

On Election Day, 70 polling places on Oahu either ran short or ran out of paper ballots, forcing hundreds of residents to wait for hours to vote. Witnesses reported many voters gave up and left the lines. In all, 24 polling places on Oahu ran out of ballots. One on Kauai and two on Hawaii island also ran short.

Chief Election Officer Scott Nago has apologized, saying that the office did not order the proper amount of paper ballots for certain polling places.

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GeoDiva wrote:
No to All-Mail voting. There is no guarantee that your ballot will ever arrive and be counted.
on November 26,2012 | 12:55PM
JBS wrote:
Well when you think about it... Is there any guarantee that machine you feed your ballot into actually counts your ballot? Maybe it's all for a show and they never really process the memory card??? Oh no! Seriously conspiracy people...we did land on the moon and dinosaurs once roamed the earth.
on November 26,2012 | 03:05PM
Anonymous wrote:
on line voting would be cheaper. Also not necessary to give the day off any more as voting can be done from home.
on November 26,2012 | 03:52PM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
Anonymous you are mistaken. Currently, the day is NOT given off to vote. except for State and County employees. Federal government employees and private sector employees must go to work on election day --- they only have 2 hours off from work to vote. The 2 major problems I have with computer voting are that: (1) not everyone owns a computer; and (2) it is too easy to hack into personal computers and steal the individual's ballot. The reason why Abercrombie is complaining about running out of ballots is that his comrade Ben Cayetano is complaining that his supporters were in the districts where they ran out of ballots. Running out of ballots is Abercrombie's fault. It was his budget proposal which passed which failed to appropriate sufficient money to buy enough ballots and to have enough polling places to vote. Going to the polling place on election day is a community activity that is as American as apple pie.
on November 26,2012 | 05:18PM
jumbojack wrote:
Have we already forgotten about this: http://www.civilbeat.com/articles/2012/08/16/16869-concerns-of-voter-intimidation-raised-in-cachola-victory/ Mail-in is easy to tamper with and skew the system. Just ask Cachola.
on November 26,2012 | 03:58PM
billso wrote:
True, but it's easy to drop a dime and report a candidate for vote tampering. It may take a real leap of faith that we'll still have a postal service in 10 years, however...
on November 26,2012 | 04:11PM
autumnrose wrote:
Cachola taught Manahan how to do it too... visit constituents in their homes & even collect the sealed ballots to be sure they're mailed. Now imagine what a super PAC like PRP could do with that, paying canvassers to go around, make sure voters fill out ballots, collect them to be sure they are mailed...
on November 26,2012 | 06:09PM
islandsun wrote:
They know why already. probe not needed, just fire a frew inept employees. Real weak, gov.
on November 26,2012 | 01:00PM
Bumby wrote:
Incompetent is all one can say about the person in charge of the election process. No back up system on top of that.
on November 26,2012 | 01:01PM
allie wrote:
No excuse for this mess. Why not have the Justice dept. investigate this mess. Many do not trust the Mayorial election that favored the interests of the rich. Lot of mystery surrounding this past election. I don't trust local investigators. Most lack the integrity or competence to be believed. Get in the Feds!
on November 26,2012 | 02:04PM
grantos wrote:
I needed a laugh. Thanks.
on November 26,2012 | 02:09PM
aomohoa wrote:
I was almost going to think you had something meaningful to say, until you started your paranoid favoring the rich, comment.
on November 26,2012 | 03:01PM
turbolink wrote:
Much like a dog marks his territory, so too Allie sprinkles her unique perspective on virtually any and all SA news items.
on November 26,2012 | 04:37PM
waianae94 wrote:
You notice that Big Al always says "We, " "Many," etc.? He must be really young or senile to say everyone thinks like him.
on November 26,2012 | 07:26PM
ha_oleboy wrote:
Come on, Allie, stop the ignorance. Rail benefits union thugs and lazy union members. The rest of us, (not you, you don't work), pay for union member's nice cars/homes, medical, retirement, etc. Wake up, stop blaming the real workers, aka, the "rich", for your laziness .
on November 26,2012 | 09:50PM
loquaciousone wrote:
What happens if the USPS goes bankrupt?
on November 26,2012 | 01:15PM
aomohoa wrote:
Why do you ask? They are just another inefficient bureaucratic agency. We would have business like Fedex and UPS.
on November 26,2012 | 03:02PM
JBS wrote:
UPS or FedEx can bid for the contract. ;)
on November 26,2012 | 03:06PM
niimi wrote:
This is how you keep the USPS in "business".
on November 26,2012 | 03:07PM
localguy wrote:
Finally, the state has admitted it cannot manage a traditional election process and will upgrade to mail in voting. YEESSSS!!! Only question is why did this take so long? I've been voting absentee for years and love it. No hassles, so simple.
on November 26,2012 | 01:20PM
allie wrote:
true...really a lousy third world country
on November 26,2012 | 02:04PM
JBS wrote:
And yet you stick around. If anybody doesn't like it here...well...there are 49 others states.
on November 26,2012 | 03:00PM
false wrote:
And a bunch of third world countries.
on November 26,2012 | 03:29PM
aomohoa wrote:
You are really showing your ignorance and obnoxiousness Allie.
on November 26,2012 | 03:03PM
Aquarius1 wrote:
Allie: Do you need a one-way fare back to North Dakota, homie? I'll donate one to you. Just tell me the name of the pizza joint you supposedly work at in Waikiki and I'll be there in 2 shake. I promise I won't be surprised and bust out laughing, if you're not really a young chick you claim to be.
on November 26,2012 | 07:45PM
RetiredWorking wrote:
Your life must truly be sad and lousy. I pity you. North Dakota must really be better than Hawaii, especially the people. Not.
on November 27,2012 | 12:37PM
M75 wrote:
I love it
on November 26,2012 | 05:31PM
purpleboi wrote:
After working for the Elections this year as a VAO, I have to say that the election process is surely stuck back a few decades. It is not a good process and a lot of the tedious stuff that goes on at polling sites are not needed. Hopefully this will make the process change and follow the Governor's lead "At a minimum, we must consider new technologies that can help bring our election process into the 21st Century,"At a minimum, we must consider new technologies that can help bring our election process into the 21st Century" I would have to agree...we need to move to a more technologically advanced election process.
on November 26,2012 | 01:32PM
false wrote:
Let's ask Cachola and Manahan they might have a few suggestions. Wink-wink.
on November 26,2012 | 03:31PM
atilter wrote:
technological advances to help the individuals - not human intervention that can lead to voter falsification...absentee ballots do not guarantee non-usurpation of the voter's action, especially when difficulties in the process arise, the voter tends to abdicate the process to someone they think they can "trust"...or give up entirely...leading to greater apathy...or worse yet - blind ignorant sheep mentality or attitude...
on November 26,2012 | 04:01PM
lowtone123 wrote:
Is Govenor Abercrombie finally taking a stand on something? Unreal.
on November 26,2012 | 01:34PM
allie wrote:
he is under pressure to do something
on November 26,2012 | 02:05PM
Allenk wrote:
Better late than never.
on November 26,2012 | 03:16PM
atilter wrote:
or being pressured by very powerful forces
on November 26,2012 | 04:02PM
ValleyOhana wrote:
Yup. In reality, there is no failsafe system when it comes to the logistics as evidenced by this General Election. I'm sure a few counties here and there elect to do electronic or mail in ballots not STATES. Its on a wing and a prayer! It comes down to the people. For the mostpart, the Office of Elections has come through for us. What would have happened if the the County Clerk continued to run the Big Island election, if there were problems there, would he have been called on the carpert? Is that what caused him to spread his team too thin to cover the Big Island without truly supporting elections operations here? What's worse? Talk to a poll chief, he hung them out to dry! Understaffed their support and failed on follow through details, THOSE were the real glitches. Sorry to see this normally sound process come under such scrutiny. No scapegoats! We need accountability.
on November 26,2012 | 01:45PM
billso wrote:
Both Washington and Oregon have been using mail-in ballots for several years now.
on November 26,2012 | 04:14PM
M75 wrote:
I like that comment they set examples for the rest of the us
on November 26,2012 | 05:29PM
Damia wrote:
I don't ever once remember a voting process that ran without any problems.
on November 26,2012 | 01:48PM
localguy wrote:
So classical when Big Island voting was messed up, State said it would step in and fix it. Then when Ohau votes, state makes massive, willful, mistakes, truly leading by example. Can't trust their own workers. Only one electronic machine per polling place, bad idea. Then the order of the presidential candidates on the ballet did not comply with state law. Lucky for us news showed Florida was even worse. This upset state voting officials who thought we were the worst, they had to work hard to get us to number 1. This is what we do.
on November 26,2012 | 02:13PM
localguy wrote:
So classical when Big Island voting was messed up, State said it would step in and fix it. Then when Ohau votes, state makes willful, mistakes, truly leading by example. Can't trust their own workers. Only one electronic machine per polling place, bad idea. Then the order of the presidential candidates on the ballet did not comply with state law. Lucky for us news showed Florida was even worse. This upset state voting officials who thought we were #1, they had to work hard to get us back to number 1.
on November 26,2012 | 02:14PM
egghead wrote:
how do we stop candidates (or their supporters) from personally pressuring voters? (ie. Cachola) Let me fill it in for you or let me see you vote for me or I'll "help" you complete the process??
on November 26,2012 | 02:28PM
Hawaii001 wrote:
NO TO MAIL IN VOTING. What's going stop someone from stealing the mail to manipulate the results of an election? The stakes are too high. If anything, I would recommend that we establish early voting centers in Kapolei, Waianae, Mililani, Waialua, Kahuku, Kaneohe, Pearl City, and 3 sites in Honolulu (west, central, and east) so people who live in those communities and the surrounding areas have an OPPORTUNITY to vote early and in a location that's not too far from where they live. I've been early voting the last couple election cycles. Wish I didn't need to go to Honolulu Hale, but what can we do? Like I said earlier, I am not a fan of mail in voting.
on November 26,2012 | 02:30PM
hoohulu wrote:
Let's see how much kala is in the governor's budget for all-mail elections! Don't try to do it on the cheap (and we have so much $$ to spare)....
on November 26,2012 | 02:36PM
livinginhawaii wrote:
Nago is an over paid civil servant who really dropped the ball this past election. Mail in voting is not bringing us into the 21st century. The Governor should note that mail is a 19th century technology...
on November 26,2012 | 02:42PM
IAmSane wrote:
Yeah, some countries allow you to vote on your cell phone. Now that's awesome. The voter turn out is predictably much higher than the US also.
on November 26,2012 | 03:17PM
niimi wrote:
This is the ultimate union voting method described by many union leaders as a "card check" for elections. 3Vs as it is called, stands for, Vote Verification Visit or Vote Verification Venue. In a Vote Verification Visit union "overseers" visit the member's home to ensure the ballot is "properly" filled out. In a Vote Verification Venue, union members have to report to a voting "venue" where they vote as a group, with "overseers" verifying that ballots are filled out properly before being sealed in their respective envelopes. Some reward is usually provided to members whose votes have been "verified" regardless of the site at which the members cast their election votes. This is the preferred method for unions to see Americans vote.
on November 26,2012 | 03:07PM
ValleyOhana wrote:
Uhm, more bureaucracy!! Thanks but no thanks. I vote NO on this suggestion.
on November 26,2012 | 03:22PM
atilter wrote:
i rest my case - see below
on November 26,2012 | 04:07PM
false wrote:
I personally like to see my ballot put into the machine and at that point hope it gets counted. I wouldn't want to hear about any allegations about some politician coming to someone's door and telling them to fill the ballot out and he/she will mail it in for them. Like a few have said inept people handling the elections. That's the problem.
on November 26,2012 | 03:27PM
atilter wrote:
NOT A GOOD IDEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - too much opportunity for older and ESL voters' ballots to be highjacked by so-called "language helpers"...all the "directions" may be slanted toward the "helpers' " preferences...no chance to verify the actual voter's thoughts...walk-ins have less chance for this to occur...bad enough now we have the flood gates open for big-buck PACs to buy foul campaigns...the smaller groups, the independent thinkers, are losing ground to these propogandized election tactics...this proposal could be a "scam" coming from a "Gov-in-somebody's-pocket"...coincidental? to the current legislative "shake-up" (re-organization).?..curious, no?......hmmmm?
on November 26,2012 | 03:33PM
niimi wrote:
I agree with your points, too. I just happened to hear about those 3Vs plans on the mainland.
on November 26,2012 | 07:29PM
antya wrote:
The State government attitude toward mismanagement is to immediately look the other way, find a way around it other than the direct approach of holding people accountable. Mail in ballots leave plenty of opportunity for undue influence, mislaid ballots, and insecure transit. Signature checks are often subjective. Spoiled ballots cannot usually be corrected, so no voter ever knows for sure if his or her ballot has counted. A fraudulent registrant will never have to face anyone, this makes the prospect of fraud less intimidating. The lack of face to face contact with voters at the polls de-humanizes the process, removing one of the few vestiges of "we are all in this together" from the public world. Clean up the management, don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.
on November 26,2012 | 03:53PM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
How about we just make sure there are enough ballots at the polling station and that there is a process to quickly deliver ballots to polling plces running short. That's all we really need.
on November 26,2012 | 04:13PM
ThinkOutLoud wrote:
I like to vote in person. A family member did not get to vote because an absentee ballot was requested but was not received.
on November 26,2012 | 04:27PM
niimi wrote:
Probably intercepted.
on November 26,2012 | 07:30PM
stevesoares wrote:
If we can't properly admister the election, why not just ban voting? It's equally absurd.
on November 26,2012 | 04:31PM
ThinkOutLoud wrote:
It seemed like a ridiculous explanation to say the ballots were in storage and not at the polls when voting is an event where the ballots cannot be saved for another year, as if they were generic state forms. Seriously, heads should roll.
on November 26,2012 | 04:32PM
islandmom wrote:
I will always support in-person voting because I think it's a critically important way that parents and grandparents model civic behavior for our children. Frankly, it would be more convenient for me to mail-in vote, but we take the kids with us so they know that this is what people in a democratic country do. Given how low our voting rates are now in Hawaii, I don't think it's a good long-term idea to take away in-person voting because you can't make much of an impression on a child by showing them that you used a stamp and are putting some envelope into the mailbox.
on November 26,2012 | 04:53PM
M75 wrote:
IT'S ABOUT TIME!!!! Finally In oregon and washington state have them why not us? I wouid rather vote by mail then having to be in a booth to vote I like the convence and it easy I can have a say in who I vote it about time governor step in and investigate the office of elections and try something new don't let the negative comments get in the way of trying something new and hope this lead to more voting confidence in the system ABOUT TIME.
on November 26,2012 | 05:24PM
Kapaho wrote:
We should go to all mail-in ballots. Then no hassles at the polls. Other states are already doing this. Then won't need as many Elections employees. Btw, what do they do when it's not an election year?
on November 26,2012 | 05:25PM
niimi wrote:
A good way for the state of Hawaii to eliminate Election Day as a state holiday every other year. Get more work time out of the employees.
on November 26,2012 | 07:31PM
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