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Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Nago Orders State Takeover of Hawaii County Elections
By News Release @ 5:11 PM :: 7304 Views :: Hawaii County , Office of Elections

News Release from State Office of Elections

Hawaii Chief Election Officer Scott Nago announced today that the Office of Elections will rescind its delegation of state responsibilities to the County of Hawaii.

The state office will administer election day activities such as delivery and collection, control center and polling place operations.

“We believe that this decision best ensures a successful general election in the County of Hawaii,” Nago said. “It will allow the county to focus its resources exclusively on voter registration and absentee voting.” (Translation: Kawauchi has now got her act together and I want to make sure she doesn't get credit for it.)

This move is meant to directly address the issues of polling place communication and timely delivery of supplies to polling places. Nago emphasized that the change will be transparent to Big Island voters and poll workers.

The office has located a control center and a counting center in the Hilo State Office Building. Ballot Operations Section Head Lori Tomczyk will be the State’s lead administrator. In primary election, Tomczyk provided support for state election operations in Hilo.

---30---

Hawaii County Election: It’s the Girlfriend, Stupid

WHT August 2, 2012: County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi on Wednesday assured Hawaii County voters the election is under control, even as the attorney for fired Elections Administrator Pat Nakamoto said his client should be reinstated immediately to ensure voting goes off without a hitch….

But Ted Hong, who monitored the news conference, characterized the voter registry problem as minimal, something only an inexperienced worker would worry about, especially this close to the Aug. 11 primary.

“At this late stage, the only way to determine (that the office is ready for the election) is to bring in someone that knows what’s going on and can set a priority list of what’s important,” Hong said. “This is a position where you need an experienced hand.”

Nakamoto is on paid leave after winning a union employee grievance process following her firing in January. Also fired were warehouse manager Glen Shikuma and two other employees following an investigation that alleged drinking, storage of alcohol and the operation of a private business out of the county elections warehouse on Makaala Street.

Kawauchi has been subjected since then to a barrage of questions and negative comments from Hilo Councilman Dennis Onishi; members of the state Elections Commission; and finally the state’s chief elections officer, Scott Nago, himself. Nago, in fact, wrote a letter to Mayor Billy Kenoi April 17 as a private individual, urging the mayor to expedite Nakamoto’s grievance so she could return to her duties before the election. Nakamoto’s live-in boyfriend, former state Chief Elections Officer Dwayne Yoshina, is Nago’s former boss.

“It absolutely was political,” Council Chairman Dominic Yagong said Tuesday night, adding, however, that Kawauchi’s secrecy about what was going on didn’t help her in the public’s eye.

Does Kawauchi think the personal relationships played a role in the criticism of her office?

“I appreciated the fact that we had a very good meeting and all the issues we might have had have been resolved,” she said Wednesday about a meeting the day before with Nago and the clerks of the other counties.

WHT July 19, 2012: A pawn, perhaps, a player most definitely

WHT: (Pat Nakamoto) has been publicly visible in political activities supporting former County Clerk Kenny Goodenow, who is seeking a Hilo district County Council seat, running against incumbent J Yoshimoto. As we reported, Goodenow’s campaign website had displayed several photos of Nakamoto and her boyfriend, former state Chief Elections Officer Dwayne Yoshina, attending an April 14 volunteer meeting for Goodenow’s campaign. Both were wearing name badges, seated at a table covered with campaign materials.

Federal laws exercise oversight of the elections process and they ensure we have individual rights, as well, including First Amendment rights — rights to vote for whom we choose and the liberty to express ourselves toward that end. Nakamoto is not exempt from those protections.

Nakamoto’s actions, while not illegal, potentially may throw into question the ability of the elections office to ensure fairness. Her federally protected ability to choose a candidate whom she will support is not in question. A public display of that partiality is, however….

Nakamoto, in exercising her protected rights, knowing she was seeking reinstatement to her job as Hawaii County Elections Office administrator, sacrificed that public trust and created the perception she is indeed a political piece — taking on the chessboard a position of her own choosing.

* * * * *

July 28, 2012 WHT: HGEA Boss Randy Pereira defends Pat Nakamoto campaign activities on behalf of County Council candidates

BIVN: VIDEO: Clerk holds press conference in Hilo

HTH: Runs Article With No Mention of Girlfriend

read … It's the girlfriend, stupid

 

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