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Politicians Call For Elections Investigation, Change

KITV The Hawaii Channel
November 8, 2006

Voters Faced Closed Doors, Lack Of Ballots

HONOLULU -- Several politicians on Wednesday called for changes or an investigation at the highest levels of the state Office of Elections. There were numerous problems at the polls on Tuesday.

A newly elected state senator and the chairman of the Republican Party said all that trouble is causing Hawaii voters to lose faith in the state's election system.

Problems started before the polls opened and continued until after they closed. At Hahaione Elementary School, officials did not show up for work. So, the polling place could not open on time. Five other polling places delayed their openings as well. At two polling places, workers ran out of ballots.

In Kapolei, 10 or more voters said the doors closed early and they were turned away. "It was about 5:56 p.m. and they closed the door in our face," Zack Martin said. "We opened our cell phones up, displayed them to him and the cell phone said 5:57 p.m.," David McCoy said.

Elections officials said there was no mistake. "We did call the chairman. Procedures were followed," said Rex Quidilla of the Office of Elections on Tuesday night.

Elections officers refused to speak with KITV on camera on Wednesday. Some elected officials said voters should not have to deal with the issues.

"People are getting demoralized, disenfranchised. They're basically saying, 'Why should I put up with the hassles and headaches?'" Sen.-elect Mike Gabbard said.

"We're frustrated, disappointed at the job the Office of Elections has done," Republican Party Chairman Sam Aiona said.

Elections officials have said that they faced a deficit of volunteers to work at many of the polling sites. In previous years, the Democratic and Republican parties provided the bulk of workers to help man the precincts. Recently, the parties have not sent as many.

While there were some problems in this year's elections, officials said it was relatively smooth compared to other years. Results were released nearly on time or early, they said.

  Mike Gabbard - State Senate| P.O. Box 75480 Kapolei, Hawaii 96707
Phone: (808) 682-0676 | Fax:(808) 682-2591 | E-mail: mike@mikegabbard.com