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State, county agree on workshops for elections

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    2012 August 11 CTY - Hawaii County Elections volunteer Bryson McCormick, center, helps offload ballots, voting equipment, etc. after the close of the polls Saturday night. PHOTO BY ROBBYN PECK / SPECIAL TO THE HSA

HILO » After trading harsh criticisms, the state elections office and Hawaii County’s clerk have agreed on workshops to help Hawaii island prepare for the general election in November.

In the days after polls opened late for the Aug. 11 primary, the state elections office released a scathing report blasting County Clerk Jamae Kawa­uchi’s planning and leadership. Kawa­uchi, in turn, said the elections office is mismanaged and should be under the control of the Lieutenant Governor’s Office.

In an email to Kawa­uchi, Chief Election Officer Scott Nago proposed the workshops and made an appeal for a better relationship, Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.

“In the last couple of weeks, we have publicly expressed our difference of opinions on the implementation of the 2012 primary election in the County of Hawaii,” Nago wrote. “As we proceed toward the general election, I propose we commit to rebuild the partnership between our offices to pursue the implementation of a secure, open and honest general election for the voters.”

An election office investigation found that 13 polling places on Hawaii island opened late on primary day. The delays led to Gov. Neil Abercrombie issuing an unusual proclamation to keep the island’s polls open 90 minutes later.

Kawauchi responded to Nago’s email and agreed to the workshops. She said the county plans to hold a meeting with election staff and volunteers to discuss what went wrong in the primary.

No dates have been set for the workshops. Kawa­uchi suggested they take place sometime between Sept. 17 and 21.

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