Local Connection: Scott Nago

Local Connection: Scott Nago

By: Rick Blangiardi

Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago has more lives than a cat.

With his laid-back attitude and his t-shirt attire on election night, Nago does not project the courageous and confident manner of someone we entrust to make sure votes are counted quickly and correctly.

We all remember that Nago faced criticism in 2012 when 50 polling places on Oahu ran short or ran out of paper ballots during the general election. He survived. A study concluded that mistakes could have been avoided with better staff training and the proper checks on ballots. Nago's response? "Nobody's perfect."

Then after a massive storm hit the Big Island that delayed the election at two Puna precincts, Nago said that ballots would be mailed out.  But then he insisted the election take place less than a week later at the polls even though thousands were still without power.

The special election actually took place on Aug. 15. 

Then on that day, Nago shocked everyone by announcing that there were 800 absentee mail-in ballots from Maui that had never been counted. Nago held off on releasing that information for two days.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, the eventual winner of the special election, called the error "appalling and outrageous."

Now not to paint the elections office with too broad a brush, but it is insulting to hear Nago declare that everyone involved did a good job. With election turnout in Hawaii at the bottom of the barrel, do people need to look at Nago as yet another reason not to vote?

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