Will bureaucrats undermine public confidence in elections 'for a good time'? It goes all the way to the top. Read on ....
Ousted Hawaii County Election Official Sleeping With Former State Election Officer
HTH: (Hawaii County Clerk Jamae) Kawauchi, in an interview with Stephens Media on Friday, confirmed the meeting but also declined to disclose what the meeting was about. In response to published reports on Hawaii News Now quoting an unnamed “law enforcement source” alleging possible voter fraud around some absentee ballots being improperly “doctored,” Kawauchi would say only, “that was not part of my review.”
“Based upon my review of the County of Hawaii voter registry, I found some things I thought should be investigated further, so I contacted the state Office of Elections,” Kawauchi said. “I also met with the state Attorney General’s Office.”….
(UPDATE--YAGONG Video July 28: “Jamae is working under direction of Attorney General’s Office, information will come out very soon” )
(UPDATE July 31, 2012 AP: Hawaii Co. Audit Reveals only Four People Voted Twice in 2010)
The (January, 2012 alcohol and sign-making) investigation (which led to the ouster of forner County Elections Administrator Pat Nakamoto) was initiated by Kawauchi along with County Council Chairman Dominic Yagong, who had conducted a site visit at the warehouse and found issues that raised their concern, Yagong said. As the council chairman, Yagong is Kawauchi’s de facto boss, controlling the council majority that hired her. He currently is challenging Mayor Billy Kenoi for mayor. (And Kenoi’s people are retaliating against Yagong.)
(State Chief Elections Officer Scott) Nago, writing as a private individual on April 17, sent Kenoi a letter praising Nakamoto’s work and urging the mayor not to recuse himself on the case or send it to arbitration, according to the letter obtained from the Mayor’s Office under Hawaii open records laws. (So Nago is part of the retaliation team.)
“As the elections administrator for the county of Hawaii, Ms. Nakamoto has worked successfully with her counterparts in the Office of Elections and the other counties,” Nago said in the letter. “To the extent her appeal results in her eventual reinstatement, it is clearly better that it occur as soon as possible so she may contribute to the successful outcome of the 2012 elections.”
Nakamoto’s ties to the state Office of Elections run deep. She’s currently in a live-in relationship with Nago’s former boss, former Chief Elections Officer Dwayne Yoshina, according to former County Clerk (Hilo old boy Democrat) Ken Goodenow, whose campaign website for County Council showed Nakamoto and Yoshina at a campaign workers meeting. (Oooops!)
Quidilla said both he and Nago formerly worked for Yoshina. (With a straight face) He said that has “none whatsoever” influence on the office’s letters to Kawauchi.
read … Election official meets with attorney general
NOTE: This July 28 HTH story was written by Nancy Cook Lauer. It was former Billy Kenoi flack Hunter Bishop who—double-teaming with Scott Nago’s letter-- wrote the false July 26 HTH story wrongly asserting that the Hawaii County Elections Office will re-mail all yellow cards. Bishop has been back at work less than a month since being reinstated at the job by court order.
Related: “From Hack to Flack”: the Big Island newspaper-Democrat revolving door
May 29, 2012: Fresh Onishi (Kenoi ally) asks for State Review of County Election Office
July 4, 2012: Two Trib-Herald Reporters Returning After Unlawful Firing
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Sources: state taps FBI for help in voter fraud probe
HNN July 27, 2012 5:49PM: The FBI has gotten involved in an investigation into allegations of voter fraud on the Big Island, sources told Hawaii News Now Friday.
The elections office in Hilo run by Hawaii County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi shut down Monday for what she called an "audit" less than three weeks before the primary election, without further explanation.
That raised concern among politicians and other elections officials in the state, especially since for the last five days, Kawauchi has not returned State Elections Officer Scott Nago's calls to brief him on problems in her office.
About one week ago, state officials received reports about possible voter fraud on the Big Island, allegations that someone was doctoring absentee ballots, sources said.
State officials then notified FBI agents, members of the public corruption team based at the FBI's Honolulu office, sources said….
At the Hawaii County Clerk's office's request, two state Attorney General's office lawyers met with Kawauchi at the AG's office on Queen Street Thursday afternoon, according to Josh Wisch, an AG's spokesman. The AG's office had not asked for the meeting, Wisch said.
She met with Robyn Chun, the deputy AG who deals with election issues for the state as well as First Deputy Russell Suzuki, who previously handled state election matters before he ascended to the second-in-command post at the AG's office.
The meetings lasted for hours Thursday afternoon, a source said....
read … Voter Fraud
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Hawaii Co vs Nago: Primary Voter Lists Compromised?
by Andrew Walden July 26, 2012
After a year of firings, reinstatements, lawsuits, and retaliation stemming from the discovery of alcohol and sign-making equipment at the Hawaii County Elections Warehouse and the arrest of a key Hawaii County election worker on DUI charges the night of the 2010 elections, the Hawaii County Elections Office is in a shambles. The following letter from State Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago to Hawaii County Elections Office Director Jamae Kawauchi warns that voter lists—“Poll Books”—may have been compromised, voters may receive the wrong ballots, and that the errors may result in election challenges.
The Hawaii Tribune Herald July 26 reports that Hawaii County Election officials will re-mail the yellow cards island-wide.
UPDATE: The Hawaii County Elections Office says the Tribune-Herald is wrong, and demands a retraction. PDF: News Release
Here is the text of Nago’s letter in full. The letter is not dated but from context was likely sent July 24 or 25. We have added underlining for emphasis.
Letter from Scott Nago:
Dear Ms. Kawauchi:
We are fielding calls as to what is going on in your county, as well as when your absentee ballots are going to be mailed out. Your closure on July 23, 2012, and your failure to thoroughly communicate to the rest of the election community and the media as to the reasons for the closure, has unnecessarily lead to significant speculation in the public about the integrity of our elections only a few weeks before the August 11, 2012 Primary Election. This is simply unacceptable on the part of a fellow election administrator. The public relies on us to be assured that their elections are safe and secure.
The lack of communication of your office in the last few days has seriously undermined the hard work that the election community does to build the trust of the public in the integrity of the electoral system. Likewise, our letter to your office dated July 23, 2012, requesting information regarding your efforts to ensure the integrity of the voter rolls remains unanswered.
Given that you have concerns about the accuracy of your voter registration rolls and the assignment of voters to their proper precinct, we believe it is imperative that you discuss this matter with us so we may have a better understanding of the scope of the problem.
On a related note, we have heard from the media that you reportedly have stated that you will be mailing out the Notice of Voter Registration and Address Confirmation Card (“yellow card”) again to voters. The mailing of a new yellow card may confuse voters. However, we assume you have deemed it necessary to correct possible errors that may have existed in the prior yellow card mailout.
(UPDATE: The Hawaii County Elections Office says they WILL NOT be re-mailing Yellow Cards to all voters. PDF: News Release. This undermines the premise of Nago's next remarks, to wit:)
As you are aware, the statewide voter registration system used for the yellow cards was also used for the printing of the poll books to be used at each precinct. It concerns us that the poll books which are the cornerstone of ensuring that voters are in the proper polling place may have been compromised. Additionally, voters who do not receive your second yellow card or who disregard it may go to the wrong polling place and be issued a ballot, as their name is in the poll book. Again, we think there is a need for you to contact our office, so we can discuss the ramifications of any problem you may have discovered in your voter registration rolls and precinct lists, as these problems will likely result in problems at polls on election day. Ultimately, this may not only inconvenience voters but may lead to possible election challenges.
Finally, it is our understanding that you are scheduled to mail out absentee ballots later this week. If your absentee ballot mailing is based on the same statewide voter registration list that was used for your original yellow cards then again voters may receive the wrong ballots, if that list was not accurate. We trust that you have formulated a solution to this problem, however, that information has not been communicated to this office.
In the end, it is out hope that by your communicating with our office, we can better understand the scope of any problems that may exist, and attempt to rebuild the public’s trust in our elections that have been compromised this week.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me at 1-800-422-VOTE (8683).
Very Truly yours,
Scott T Nago
Chief Election Officer
SA July 27, 2012: Absentee ballots due out July 23, have not yet gone out
HTH: No Comment or retraction in July 27, 2012 Edition
Hawaii County Elections picture darkens by the day (JPEG of Nago Letter)
BINC: County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi says around 5,200 cards are in error
Hawaii County Elections Office: News Release
HTH: County to resend yellow cards to voters
The card is the pre-election notice to voters confirming their address, precinct, district and polling place. The cards were mailed out to all registered voters on July 18. But next week, all 101,728 notices, some revised, will be mailed again.
County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi, who oversees the Elections Division, said some of the cards in the first mailing provided incorrect polling places attributed to state reapportionment and county redistricting prior to this election, which changed some boundaries and altered some voters’ assigned polling places. In one case, Kawauchi said confusion arose over a “street” and an “avenue” that both had the same name.
In another case, moving a street to a new precinct in 2012 apparently “didn’t take” when program changes were applied by the Elections Division staff.
Kawauchi couldn’t say how many yellow cards that were sent had errors. On July 12, she assured the media and elected officials at a press conference that her staff had to match some 26,000 voters with their polling places from the list of registered voters provided by the state and that it had been successfully accomplished within 30 days. But problems began to surface, and now she wants to make sure every voter is getting complete and accurate information.