County Council to meet over voting problems

Published: Aug. 13, 2012 at 11:53 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 14, 2012 at 12:00 AM HST
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The Hawaii County Council will hold a special meeting over voting problems that plagued the Big Island

Hawaii News Now has also learned the voting delays could have been even worse had a state election official not stepped in at the last-minute.

The Council meeting, tentatively scheduled for Thursday, is supposed to be an informational briefing and County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi, who is in charge of elections, will be the star speaker.

Council member Angel Pilago, said members could recommend that the county take drastic action, which could include a call for Kawauchi's termination

"I'm not one for information," said Pilago.

"I'm here for intervention and corrective action."

Election delays on the Big Island has been major embarrassment for county officials. As many as 25 of 40 polling did not open on time, prompting Gov. Neil Abercrombie to extend the Big Island's voting deadline by more than one-and-a-half hours.

A video shot by a big island video new shows just how confusing the situation was. Poll workers who showed up at four o'clock in the morning were given no direction and managers from the county clerk's office were nowhere to be found.

Here's how one volunteer expressed his frustration that morning:

"The last time we knew what were going to do. But now there was no briefing," he said

Fortunately, an official with the state elections office who had flown in from Oahu was able to step in.

The official Lori Tomczyk wearing the red shirt directed volunteers where to go and how to set up their equipment.

State Senate candidate Lorraine Inouye says the voting problems could have cost her race. Inouye, who lost to incumbent Malama Solomon by just 69 votes, said win, lose or draw, she just wants to reassure voters that the election process is fair.

"I wouldn't be surprise -- yup -- if it cost my election, Inouye said. Again, like I said, if the results ended up me not even prevailing, at least I feel good I did what I had to do."

Inouye has six days to request a recount. But it may take much longer to win back the trust of some Big Island voters.

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.