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Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Anger Boils in Puna as Nago Changes Election Three Times in Three Days
By News Release @ 4:41 PM :: 7599 Views :: Hawaii County , Democratic Party, Office of Elections

Letter from HD4 Democratic Party Chair Phil Matlage to Hawaii County Democratic Party Chair David Tarnas  August 12, 2014

This repeated change in the date, location and method of the election; 3 times in 3 days, twice within hours of each other, is a violation of the election laws, notification by mail and or personal delivery is required to change the place and date of the election. Several political offices are currently to be decided by our votes; Federal US Senate, State House of Representatives, and a County Council seat.

Are we to standby and say nothing when the basic civil rights of our neighbors are being violated, this will probably end up in US Federal Courts as a Civil Rights case delaying the final election results for weeks or months, if not longer.

To start with, most of the people in Precincts 1&2 do not currently have internet, TV, Cable, phones, or home delivery of mail, and electricity is still widely out. Is Scott Nago, head of the Hawaii Elections Office, planning on sending smoke signals in the next 3 days to get the word out of when and where the election will be held, or has he been drinking “Florida style elections Kool-Aid”. You have to notify folks when and where to vote, this is not a Banana Republic, or is it?

The voters have been advised by notices posted by the elections officials at the 2 closed polling places they would be sent a mail-in ballot, and the same was noted in the Hawaii Tribune newspaper. The written notices posted on the polling place doors were even shown as part of a KHON2 news story in today’s evening news broadcast.

Additionally I have not been notified by the office of elections that the Hawaii Board of Registration will reconvene for this “walk-in election”, which is required to address any challenges to the ability of any voter to cast a ballot. I have called Mr. Nago’s office to remind them of their obligation and my duty, as the chairman of the Hawaii Island Board of Registration.

Why doesn’t the office of elections just send the ballot boxes pre-filled and do away with the pretense of a legal and fair election. I am outraged that we are to be denied our right to vote which Mr. Ngo has sworn an oath to protect and defend enforcing the laws of the land.

---30---

Matlage is the Democratic Party HD4 Chair and Chair of the Hawaii Island Board of Registration with the State Department of Elections. He was appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate in 2012

  *   *   *   *   *

Mr. Scott Nago
State of Hawaii Office of Elections
Honolulu, Hawaii

Aloha,

I write this letter on behalf of the Hawaii County Democrats who are involved In both the recovery of the affected area and the election process. We thank you for all you are trying to do to conduct a fair and transparent election process.

Our concern is for the people of Puna first and of course their right to vote is a common goal we share with your office.

We understand that the Election is going forward, however, based on reports from our Hawaii County Chairman, District 4 Chairman, and voters in the Precincts 04-01 and 04-02, it appears that planning for the Special election in these precincts were conducted in a confusing manner that did not offer the greatest opportunity for voters to be apprised of the date, time and location of the special election.

On Saturday, August 9th, Primary election day, there were signs posted at the closed polling stations for Precincts 04-01 and 04-02 that stated residents would get the opportunity to send in a mail-in absentee ballot within 21 days.

Two days later, there was a change in elections procedure announced via the media that the election would be on Friday or Saturday and there would be two polling stations.

Then less than an hour later, there was another change and an announcement was made to the media on TV, the internet, and email that voting was to be on Friday at only one location.

I commend the efforts of the Hawaii County Elections Office who are working hard to publicize the announcement about Friday’s election to registered voters in these precincts.

However, based on reports from Puna, there are many registered voters in the two affected precincts who are still not getting this information because electricity, cable, internet, phone services are still down.

I understand that a letter was being sent to all the registered voters in these two precincts informing them of Friday’s election.

I hope lessons were learned and that while this Hurricane impacted the Primary in this manner, we still have the General Election to go and we wish to work with your office like we have in the past for a transparent and smooth election.

The Big Island Democrats will be at the polls and assist in whichever way possible to ensure this. If there is anything more we can help with, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Best wishes,
Stephanie Ohigashi
State Chairperson Democratic Party of Hawaii

  *   *   *   *   *

Puna Precincts to Vote in Person on Friday

CB: An answer to the question “Who won Hawaii’s U.S. Senate race?” is likely to come Friday, according the State Elections Office.

The plan is to run an election at Keonepoko Elementary School for the two Puna precincts on the Big Island that were closed because of Tropical Storm Iselle.

The results would be announced the same evening as the election.

“I don’t think it would take that long with just two precincts,” said Office of Elections spokesman Rex Quidilla.

Friday is a state holiday — Statehood Day. The polling hours will be 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Chief Election Officer Scott Nago made the decision after consultation with the Hawaii Attorney General, Department of Defense and the Office of the County Clerk.

“Only voters who are assigned to Hawaiian Paradise Community Center (04-01) and Keoneopoko Elementary School (04-02), who did not previously vote by absentee mail ballot or at an early vote site will be allowed to vote,” according to the Elections Office.

There are 8,255 registered voters in the two precincts. Quidilla said he did not know how many had previously mailed in absentee ballots.

read ... Vote Friday

Hanabusa cites ‘irregularities’ in Hawaii vote

Politico: Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who‘s trailing in the too-close-to-call Hawaii Democratic Senate primary against incumbent Brian Schatz, warned Monday of voting “irregularities” in precincts crippled by a massive tropical storm last week and said she’s speaking with campaign lawyers about a potential recourse.

“There are irregularities that have occurred in terms of just access, and I’m hoping that the Office of Elections will look at it,” Hanabusa told POLITICO in a phone interview on Monday....

Hanabusa’s comments indicate for the first time that she’s examining the impact in surrounding communities as well, where polls were open but some voters were unable to leave their homes.

“We’ve got a lot of people coming up to us saying, ‘We couldn’t get out to vote but they didn’t close us down,’” she said. “We have a lot of people who are talking about the election because they felt in fact they were disenfranchised.”...

Ridder said Hanabusa’s only path to victory is mass turnout among Puna’s Japanese-American voters, who have tended to back her, and weak turnout among Schatz’s base. If Schatz fails to deliver any disaster relief, he added, that could come into play as well.

Puna District voter Dennis Alstrand captured that sentiment in a comment to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser: “If these guys show up with ice and water — and maybe a chain saw — they have my vote.”

read ... Irregularities

What about those blocked from polls, but not in delayed precincts?

KHON: Blocked in by huge fallen trees, no power, dwindling water supply and food — and no voting for many last Saturday.

We’re not just talking about people in the two precincts who got their voting delayed by official decree. We’re talking about a much wider area around that on the Big Island.

“There were people who were in certain areas where the voting was open, but they could not get out,” said Puna resident Bruce Darny. “There were people stuck every which way saying we couldn’t get to our poll.”

Many people assigned to Big Island polling places that were open Saturday still did not make it to the voting booth due to the effects of Iselle.

So Always Investigating dug into just how extensive the disenfranchised voter problem is in Puna.

Voters and local officials say the borders were drawn too narrowly when the Office of Elections gave only two polling places more time.

“The aftermath is worse than most people realize,” Sen. Russell Ruderman, who represents the Puna district, told KHON2. “What they did was flew over these areas and make a determination that roads were clear and no problem. I’m here to report that’s inaccurate information. Even if the major arteries were cleared that does not mean people had access to them. People live on the side streets that were blocked, so if a highway was open, it doesn’t mean a person can go vote.”

The numbers bear that out. About 18 percent of registered voters statewide opted to cast a ballot on Election Day Saturday. But in the remaining open precincts in the Puna district, only 12 percent did this year versus 20 percent in the 2012 primary, about the same rate on Election Day as the rest of state back then.

HTH: Ford, Ruderman: More precincts need redo

read ... Blocked

Campaign Coverage:

HNN: Desperate Schatz Hanabusa Invade Puna Pretend to Care

TW: Hawaii's Senate Candidates Conveniently Aid Storm Victims in Undecided Precincts

CB: Puna Still Struggles as Politicians Parachute In

HTH: Poll to open Friday for two storm-damaged precincts

Nago's History:

2014: Nago: “I think we’ve got bigger issues to worry about than voting”

2012: Nago Retaliates on Voting Official Because Somebody's Girlfriend Got Fired

2012: FBI investigating? Sex, Lies and Retaliation at Big Island Election Office

2012: Election 'Fiasco': Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Threatened

2010: Hawaii Chief Elections Officer: “Is it my job to get people to turn out and vote?”

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