Commission to weigh report on Elections Office this month
Jan 12, 2013 (The Honolulu Star-Advertiser - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Circumstances leading to ballot shortages and long lines on general election day have been "sufficiently investigated," and any punitive or disciplinary action toward the Office of Elections will be discussed at a meeting this month, the state Election Commission said.
Commissioners met Friday in executive session to receive a report from a subcommittee charged with investigating the calculation for the number of ballots needed, the availability of ballots and delays in getting extra ballots to voting sites.
Shortages led to long lines and frustrated voters who either endured long waits or walked away completely.
"The commission is assured that the facts surrounding these problems have been sufficiently investigated," Chairman William Marston said.
By law, deliberations on the report must be done at the commission's next meeting, scheduled for Jan. 25.
"There will be a number of decisions made, I'm sure, but we hopefully will clean it all up at that time," Marston said after the meeting.
Scott Nago, chief election officer, declined comment on the commission's investigative process but said his office has worked to identify and correct the problems that led to the ballot shortages Nov. 6.
"There was checks and balances that should've been done that weren't," he said. "This was never an issue prior. This is now a possible issue, and this is something that we will check to make sure there is no single point of failure."
Nago said funding was not an issue.
"It was just the fact that we used the wrong formula" for determining the number of ballots needed, he said. "The process we used to identify if that formula was correct wasn't followed."
Gov. Neil Abercrombie has asked state Attorney General David Louie to conduct an investigation into the ballot problems.
At a November commission meeting, several testifiers urged the commission to fire Nago.
Nago said he had not thought about his job security.
"We're just moving forward with the 2014 elections," he said. "Preparation begins right after the previous election."
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