Behind the scenes changes for Big Island election

Behind the scenes changes for Big Island election

BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - With just three days left until the general election, last minute preparations are underway. The state is now in charge on the Big Island after complaints about the county clerk's handling of the August primary.

"We didn't feel she could, the county could adequately address the needs or solve the problems that were brought up at the debrief," said chief election officer Scott Nago.

13 polling places on the Big Island failed to open on time. 3 were severely delayed. Governor Neil Abercrombie ordered Hawaii County polls to stay open an extra 90 minutes.

"The main things we heard were cans weren't packed properly, supplies weren't where they were supposed to be. The phone wasn't properly programmed and control center, there was no access to the control center," said Nago.

County clerk Jamae Kawauchi is still responsible for voter registration and absentee ballots. With eight new workers, the state is overseeing everything else. The candidates for Hawaii County mayor are pleased by the switch.

"It was very disappointing to hear of the multiple concerns of our island residents. The right to vote is a sacred right," said Hawaii County mayor Billy Kenoi.

"I'm very glad the state came in. The only criticism I have is that corrective measures by everyone should have been done earlier," said mayoral candidate Harry Kim.

More than 104,323 Hawaii County residents are registered to vote in the general election. The state is hoping for success with some changes behind the scenes.

"Ultimately, the reason why we did this is it gives us the best opportunity to succeed for the general election. That's all we had in mind was for the voters so that they could go to their polling place, have their ballot counted, and know that their ballot will be counted," explained Nago.