Chief Elections Officer apologizes for ballot shortage

Published: Nov. 7, 2012 at 7:32 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 7, 2012 at 11:21 PM HST
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State Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago speaks to reporters
State Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago speaks to reporters

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow)

The State Office of Election said at least 23 Oahu polling places ran out of paper ballots. Voters were lined up waiting for more ballots to arrive.

"I just don't get it," Rob McPeek said.

The St. Louis Heights resident stood in line at Hokulani Elementry School but gave up in frustration.

"I could have stayed. I thought, 'Why stay and be angry?' So I left," he said.

Hundreds of Oahu voters faced the same choice, either wait for ballots to be replenished, or wait to vote electronically. Both options were time consuming.

"Ultimately, it was just a bad call on our part," election chief Scott Nago said.

He said he based his ballot order on how many people voted on Oahu in the primary election, and added a pad of 25 percent per precinct. That came out to 274,885 paper ballots.

"In hindsight, we should have ordered sixty percent of the registered voter count," he said.

If he had, the order would have been for over 284,000 ballots -- nearly 10,000 more.

In all, 70 precints on Oahu reported ballot shortages.

"I can see a few of the precincts, but for that many to run out? No excuse," McPeek said.

Nago said the old formula has always worked. History didn't line up this time.

"Because this is the first year after reapportionment, precinct lines have changed. So a particular polling place may not service the same geographical boundary," he said.

McPeek got to his voting place a little after five p.m.,

60 people were in front of him.

"I approximated I would have probably gotten out of there at eight o'clock," he said.

Nago said the old formula may need to be changed Next time he'll order more ballots, and have a quicker way to get reserves to polling places that are running out.

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