Faulty ballots raise election concerns

Andrew Jamila Jr.
Andrew Jamila Jr.
Pohai Ryan
Pohai Ryan
Joe Pandolfe
Joe Pandolfe
Chuck Prentiss
Chuck Prentiss
Virginia Enos
Virginia Enos

By Brooks Baehr - bio | email

The names of all candidates for state senate district 25 (Hawaii Kai, Waimanalo, Kailua) are missing from 1,600 absentee ballots mailed to voters in Hawaii Kai.

New ballots with all candidate names will be sent to voters soon, but there are concerns the mix-up may alter election results.

"Just shocking. That's the only word I can think of now is shocking," democratic candidate Andrew Jamila Jr. told Hawaii News Now.

"I think it's unacceptable," said democratic candidate Pohai Ryan.

"What's happening at the board of elections? Don't they have a proof reader?" asked republican candidate Joe Pandolfe.

"You know it's a shame that there was a mistake made," added candidate Chuck Prentiss, a democrat.

The state's chief elections officer, Scott Nago, blamed the error on a vendor, Hart InterCivic.

"It was just a misprint. They printed the wrong file," Nago said.

"As a small business owner if something like this was to happen, we'd probably lose the job, or you know, get fired," Pandolfe said.

District 25 stretches from Hawaii Kai, through Waimanalo and into Kailua. There are 28,838 registered voters in the district. Sixteen-hundred of the 4,880 who requested absentee (mail-in) ballots received ballots without the names of the senate candidates. The faulty ballots went to voters in Port Lock and voters on the Koko Crater side of Lunalilo Home Road.

Nago said corrected ballots will be sent to everyone who got a bad ballot. Voters will be asked fill out that second ballot and mail it back to the state even if they have already returned one of the faulty ballots. When elections officials get the second ballot, the first will be discounted. If they do not get a second ballot, the first will count.

"We apologize for the inconvenience. It is unfortunate, but we are correcting the situation," Nago said.

Republican candidate Virginia Enos is the most forgiving of the five candidates.

"I'm just really pleased to see the reaction which is very swift. They are going to make a correction. Now we don't know if it'll be the best positive way that they could make the correction, but at least they're doing it," Enos told Hawaii News Now.

The others worry the mix-up will impact the outcome of the election.

"There will be some voters that will not re-vote. They're off island. They're on a trip. They won't be here and they are securely thinking that they put their ballots in already," Jamila said.

"Other people may decide that they don't want to bother voting twice, so it's hard to say what the results will be as opposed to what they would have been otherwise," Prentiss added.

"If anything the public may lose a lot of confidence in the results," Ryan commented.

Nago said the mix-up will not cost the taxpayers a cent. He told Hawaii News Now Hart InterCivic will pay the unexpected printing and postage expenses.

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