Outgoing elections chief defends polling place plan

Outgoing elections chief defends polling place plan
Jean Aoki
Jean Aoki
Chuck Freedman
Chuck Freedman

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - "No one that I know wants this kind of election but our hands are tied behind our back," Kevin Cronin told the state Elections Commission.

Cronin met with the commission to outline and defend his plan to close 97 polling places for the 2010 election.

He said he doesn't have enough people to prepare.

"We need people on the staff. We need people that are going to be reporting to work every day," he said.

Cronin wants to close 76 voting sites on Oahu, 18 on the Big Island, and 3 on Maui.

The criteria is low voter turnout or close proximity to other voting sites.

Critics call it a bad plan..

"Our job has been to increase our voter participation and this doesn't bode well for any kind of an increase," said Jean Aoki of the League of Women Voters.

"Let's fix that problem, bring in a new elections chief, and hopefully keep as many of the polling places running as we can," Democratic Party official Chuck Freedman said.

In 23 months on the job, Cronin has largely operated under budget reductions and legislative spending restrictions.

He estimates the Office of Elections will end the fiscal year in June $12,000 in the red.

The commission will launch a search for Cronin's successor.

In the meantime it will name an interim director.

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