Hawaii ballot error causes little concern

Hawaii ballot error causes little concern

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii voters are catching a mistake on their ballot.  The presidential candidates are not listed in the correct alphabetical order but both parties aren't too concerned.

In a phone book being first on the list matters, but being first on the Hawaii ballot for the Presidential ticket, not as much.

Barack Obama should be listed second instead of fourth.  Mitt Romney should be third not first.  That is technically a violation of state law because the names are supposed to be in alphabetical order.  All the other races on the ballot are listed in correct order, but not the Commander in Chief.

The State Office of Elections says it was a mistake, oversight and error.  They used the same random order from the primary election instead of switching the template to alphabetical for the general election.  By the time it was noticed it was too late to reprint.  Still the consensus says it won't make any difference.

"In presidential elections people know who they are voting for. They know who they want and they will go down that list until they find the name," said John Hart, PhD., Hawaii Pacific University Communications Department Chair. "Will Hawaii go for Obama? Yes. Will the order make a difference? No. So there's no real net harm here."

Remember the president is chosen by Electoral College votes not the popular vote.  It's a winner take all.

"As long as Hawaii goes for Obama it doesn't matter by ten or by a million Obama gets Hawaii's electoral votes," said Prof. Hart.

It is however another mistake in an election year that's seen plenty of problems from late opening polls on the Big Island to duplicate ballots sent in Manoa.  Still both parties seem to have confidence in the Office of Elections.

"It's unfortunate that that happened but President Obama has universal name recognition in Hawaii. Hawaii supporters love him. They know the guy's name. They're very excited about receiving their ballot, finding his name and voting for him," said Ria Baldevia, Obama for America - Hawaii Director.

"I don't believe it's going to make a difference at all. I truly believe that most of Hawaii's voters are very educated, smart where they are going to read through and even double check their work before they actually vote," said David Chang, Hawaii Republican Party Chair.

While the mistake shouldn't cause a challenge from candidates, Professor Hart says it should have been noticed earlier.

"After the election given what's been going on, (the Office of Elections) needs to take a look.  Polls opening late, poor training for poll workers, wrong listing on the ballots, clearly we can do better," said Prof. Hart.

To find a sample ballot, your polling place and more information about the general election click here.

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