At Least 69 Precincts Ran Low on Ballots—Some as Early as 10AM
KHON: The Office of Elections said Wednesday an investigation into Election Day problems could take weeks, but initial findings show officials simply underestimated the number of ballots needed.
At least 69 polling places reported low-ballot problems, some as early at 10 a.m. on Election day. At least 20 locations in Mililani, Waianae, Kailua, Waimanalo and elsewhere ran short of paper ballots before the close of polls Tuesday, and many had to stay open late to accommodate all the voters in line.
Officials say there's no way to know how many people decided lines were too long and left without voting. Most polling stations had only one electronic voting machine on site.
read … Another Reason to Fire Scott Nago
Nago Used Primary Election Numbers for General
Nago said the office decided to base the number of ballots ordered for the general election on the number of voters in the primary which is typically an election with much lower turn out. As to why:
"Ultimately it was just a bad call on our part. The numbers were based on the primary with an inflation rate included and we just got it wrong," he said.
KITV received numerous reports of other issues, including difficulty reaching elections officials to report problems, or when reserves arrived, receiving the wrong ballots, and redistricted voters showing up at the wrong place.
"Our precinct captain called, and called, and called," said poll watcher Tadd Reinstra.
"When we were finished they said hold on, it's not the right ballot," said one voter.
read … He was too busy sabotaging Jamae Kawauchi
AP: Officials: Poor plans, not High Turnout, led to Oahu ballot shortage Office of Elections spokesman Rex Quidilla said an investigation into Election Day problems could take weeks, but initial findings show officials simply underestimated the number of ballots needed. "It was not related to turnout. We should have been able to account for that, no matter how many people show up," Quidilla said. "We made initial guesses about the number of ballots, and they were incorrect." Across Hawaii, voter turnout was down about 5 percentage points from the 2008 presidential election.
HNN: Chief Elections Officer apologizes for ballot shortage
50 People Given Wrong Ballot
KHON: Michelle Bartell was at one of the 24-and-counting polling places across Oahu that ran out of paper ballots Tuesday.
"It took over 4 hours to get new paper ballots,” Bartell said. “It was about 5:45 when all of a sudden the precinct volunteer burst through the door and said, ‘Paper ballots!’"
She had studied her House District 20 and Senate District 10 options on a sample ballot at home, so she was shocked to find her and many others were given a House District 19 and Senate District 9 ballot, which also wouldn't include a City Council race – the one between James Hayes and Ann Kobayashi -- that they should have voted in.
"So when I didn't see hers, I thought maybe I made a mistake on the sample ballot,” Bartell said. “They told me, take your receipt and go ahead and insert it in, which I did. And it dawned on me it really was the wrong ballot. I turned around, went back to the precinct official or volunteer and told her this, and she said this woman just told me the same thing. That was the moment they realized that they were wrong, and a lot of people had already submitted into the ballot box."
Elections officials told us that would be impossible.
"If they were to put their ballot into the machine, the machine would reject it,” said Scott Nago, chief election officer. “It wouldn't accept it."
But according to Bartell and several other voters we spoke with: “It didn't reject anything,” Bartell said.
"On the one hand, those 40 or 50 people who cast the wrong vote, it would not have swayed anything one way or the other,” she added, “but on the other hand, to know after everything I went through, my basic right as a citizen to vote was negated feels terrible."
read … Wrong, wrong, wrong
Hawaii's 4th World Elections
Sen Sam Slom: Our elections officials have one simple task: To give us a flawless election every two years. And yet again, those in charge managed to screw it up. With 20 Oahu precincts short of paper ballots, and many people who left because they could not wait an hour or more to vote while the ballots were delivered, there must be responsibility for these inexcusable errors. There must be firings. Period.
read … Slom
Poor Management: Nago Fails to Deliver Sufficient Paper Ballots to 16 Oahu Polling Places
CB: At least 19 Oahu precincts have run out of paper ballots, according to elections spokesman Rex Quidilla.
The state Office of Elections is working on getting more electronic voting machines to the sites. All voters who were in line by the 6 p.m. deadline will still be allowed to vote.
Quidilla said that about one-third of all Oahu polling places remain open, whether because of the lack of paper ballots or other logistical issues.
He estimated that the precincts would be shut down by 8 p.m. at the latest.
read … About What Happens when the Elections Office is Obsessed with Retaliation
Hokulani ES -- Nago Failed to Deliver Ballots for Four Hours 1PM – 5PM
CB: Hawaii Green Party attorney Lance D. Collins said the elections office violated a slew of federal laws in not providing sufficient paper ballots.
He cited Hokulani Elementary School, which allegedly was left without ballots for more than four hours between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. He said that the paper ballots that eventually arrived were designated for a different district and were in Japanese and Ilocano.
Hundreds of potential voters eventually left the snaking line at the school without casting their ballots, according to Collins.
Collins complained that Nago wasn’t available to talk with him when he and the rest of Bonk’s crew arrived at the headquarters around 9:30 p.m.
“We want to know what happened, why it happened … a remedy for the fact that hundreds of people couldn’t vote,” he said.
He indicated that the Green Party would take legal action pending election officials’ response.
read … Green Party Will Sue
Nago: We Just Got Caught
Abercrombie: No Reason Every Polling Station Shouldn’t Have Enough Ballots
AP: Abercrombie said there was no reason every voting station shouldn't have enough ballots for everyone. And even without paper ballots, everybody who showed up should have been able to vote electronically, he said. Abercrombie promised a review of voting procedures.
"The legislature has to take up the question seriously about how can we get ahold of the situation and see that it doesn't happen again," he said.
Plenty of ballots were available, but workers failed to deliver them "in a timely manner," said Hawaii Chief Election Officer Scott Nago.
"We had them printed. We sent out reserves as soon as we knew about it," Nago told KHON-TV. "It's hard to predict turnout — we just got caught."
He said his staff would meet to see what they can do differently to avoid similar problems in the future. The state hasn't run out of ballots before, at least not on this scale, he said.
Voters at seven Oahu polling places were still in lines at electronic voting machines several hours after polls closed.
First results from races across the state trickled in about two hours later than scheduled.
read … 19 polling places on Oahu run out of paper ballots
SA Editorial: No excuse for ballot shortage snafu
State elections office wasn't able to get reserve ballots to precincts that needed them
» Reports from polling places that ballots were running low started rolling in around 10 a.m., but there didn't appear to be an efficient way of getting reserve ballots from the state Capitol building where they're stored, said Beppie Shapiro, president of the League of Women Voters-Hawaii.
Shapiro, who was an election volunteer at the Capitol Tuesday, said throughout the day precinct officials were calling to ask for extra ballots and were being met with little help.
"They were calling repeatedly, with greater desperation," she said.
» It took hours, in some cases, for extra ballots to arrive at polling sites that had run out.
Mike Gallagher, 61, who helped run the Kainalu Elementary polling place, said paper ballots ran out at 1 p.m. and reserves took about five hours to arrive.
Gallagher said at one point he even volunteered to go pick up ballots, but was told the ballots would be delivered.
"We were constantly on the phone with headquarters," he said. "It shouldn't have happened, and the response was totally inappropriate. They hung everybody out to dry."
» The call center that precinct officials used to report problems had extraordinarily long waits during the worst of the problems. Some officials were on hold for 45 minutes to an hour, only to be told someone would call them back.
» At Hokulani Elementary extra ballots arrived, but officials soon realized they were for the wrong precinct.
A few voters apparently used the incorrect ballots, but it's unclear if those voters filled out new ballots.