Hawaii's Chief Election Officer Cronin resigns

Hawaii's Chief Election Officer Cronin resigns

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The voting boss folds. After a turbulent two years, the man in charge of Hawaii elections says he is resigning at the end of the month.

On the eve of a big election year in Hawaii, Elections Chief Officer Kevin Cronin issued an exclusive statement on Tuesday to Hawaii News Now.

Cronin says:

"After considerable thought, I had decided to resign my position as Chief Election Officer at the end of the year to pursue other opportunities. I sincerely thank my staff and the many volunteers who are dedicated and worked tirelessly to ensure a democratic process for the residents of Hawaii. I will miss all of the good people in the election office and am proud that together with all the county clerks and staff, we conducted what many veterans and critics considered to be the smoothest primary and general elections in 2008 in Hawaii in over 10 years. I wish the Office of Elections continued success."

Cronin has faced a string of controversies since he took on the job in February 2008, including failing to register to vote in Hawaii right away, which is a job requirement.

Election Commission Chair William Marston says Cronin was not forced to resign.

"Kevin is a man of very high integrity. He's a very honest person and I have a lot of respect for him and we wish him well," said Marston.

Cronin's resignation letter comes the same day he submitted a report to the Election Commission.

The report released Tuesday shows state budget cuts will force the Office of Elections to close 97 polling places - from 339 precincts in 2008 to 242 precincts in the 2010 elections.

Cronin states they're short staffed, with less than half of the usual workers, so they can't organize next year's elections in the same manner as 2008.

The report also shows there's still no solid plan on how the 2010 election will run.

On Wednesday morning, the Elections Commission will meet at the capitol to discuss Cronin's replacement.

2010 is a key election year. A seat in Congress, the Governor's race, and possibly the race for Honolulu Mayor could all happen without an incumbent.

A link to the full 2010 Election Plan is on this page. The report includes a list of precinct closings.