The state Office of Elections today will mail corrected ballots to 1,600 absentee voters in Portlock and Hawaii Kai after they were sent ballots that omitted the entire state Senate District 25 race.
"First we want to apologize for this inconvenience this may have caused voters," state Chief Election Officer Scott Nago said yesterday at a news conference.
Voters in Precincts 1701 and 1702 — Portlock and portions of Hawaii Kai on the Koko Head side of Lunalilo Home Road — who requested mail-in absentee ballots received ballots that left off the three Democrats and two Republicans running to succeed Sen. Fred Hemmings, Nago said.
Nago urged voters to use the corrected ballots, even if they already mailed in the misprinted ballots. Any misprinted ballots received will be flagged in the system and set aside, Nago said. Elections office personnel will try to contact those voters by phone to advise them to use the corrected ballot.
If those people do not send in a second, corrected, ballot, the Office of Elections will count their votes on their original ballot.
Koko Head resident Ann Hipp said she had filled out her ballot and put it in her mailbox before a friend told her of the error.
"I’m going to pull it out and wait for the new one to come," said Hipp, 64, a retired teacher at Mid-Pacific Institute who is voting in the Democratic primary.
No other areas of Senate District 25, which includes Kailua and Waimanalo, were affected by the misprint. There are 28,838 registered voters in Senate District 25.
Nago explained that vendor Hart Intercivic used incorrect data to print the incomplete ballots. It will print new ballots at no cost to the state, he said. This is the first ballot error in Hawaii since 1998, when about 50 ballots in the Punchbowl area were defective, he said.
Of this error, Nago said, "Fortunately we caught it soon enough. Hopefully (absentee voters) won’t send out the wrong ballot."
Democratic candidate Andrew Jamila Jr. said, "To me, every vote is like gold. People have won by 37 votes. That 1,600 becomes a factor.
"We’re all trying to make sure that there’s some kind of accuracy in each candidate’s votes."
Republican candidate Virginia Enos said, "I feel that every vote counts, and while it’s unfortunate that the error occurred, we hope that this will highlight the Senate 25 District race and encourage more people to come out and vote."