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Hawaii lawmakers want to reform state elections

  • COURTESY IAN RUTKA
    People wait in line for paper ballots at Holy Trinity School in the late afternoon of Tuesday, November 6, 2012.
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Hawaii lawmakers are pushing to reform the state elections process after a series of mishaps caused polling places to run out of ballots and open late last year. 

House Minority Leader Aaron Ling Johanson wants to give the chief elections officer the power to supervise inexperienced county clerks. Then-Hawaii County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi was heavily criticized when 13 Big Island polling places opened late for the primary election. She hadn’t run an election before.

Rep. Sharon Har is pushing to get rid of the state office of elections and the elections commission altogether. The Democrat says their responsibilities should be transferred to the lieutenant governor.

Har also introduced a bill that charges the elections commission with overseeing the chief elections officer. The commission currently plays an advisory role.

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