Political Radar


August 25th, 2014

Scott Nago, the state's chief election officer, has detailed his response to the primary in a 14-page report prepared last week for the state Elections Commission.

The report is the most definitive account yet of the state's handling of the primary.

Interestingly, the report gives the state's interpretation of the law on postponed elections after natural disasters. Nago contends that a polling place election can only be postponed for seven days, while an absentee mail election can take as long as 21 days.

The state held a makeup vote at Keonepoko Elementary School for storm-ravaged voters in Puna on Aug. 15, six days after the Aug. 9 primary.

11 Responses to “Report”

  1. innocent observer:

    but to give the puna residents to recover, he could have opt for mail voting so they would have more time to recover. that is why his decision approved by the AG, was so stupid; they simply did not consider the extenuating circumstances of the affect people, they just make the decision unilaterally.

  2. Chicken Grease:

    For all the times you've called my narrative "stupid" something or other, i.o., your little pro-Puna's, above, supposed to be so brilliant, no? Just extend, extend, extend, in the normally high speed, metropolitan, Puna area, right? [Lying down on beach] "Oh, you going vote?" "Hah??? Nah. We get 4 more weeks. Plus, you watch. ACLU going expan' 'em fo' mo' months fo' us."

    What about the lava thing in Puna going on now? Should the election have been postponed for that, too? Yeah. Postpone the d--n primary past November too, duh.

    We were ALL affected by these two storms -- a phenomenon which the Left readily admits to due to, DUHHHHHHHHHHH "Globalsk Warminskt" -- and we all made the effort to go vote. It is a fact that not everyone will vote whether don't want to, forget,, or are just part of one of the lowest voter turnouts in the country, yeah, being part of Hawaii.

    And, above all, you wanted the apparently enthusiastic Scott Nago to do envelopes or whatever shining platinum ounce of brilliance you mentioned. Yeah.

    Gotta draw the damn line somewhere. If anything, the Office of Elections could've brought the ballots closer to residents. Make THAT the exception. Don't have to be in some d--n cafeteria. And if d'a rules say it has to be that way, then exception time. The heck's so hard -i bring the election to them. You think they need more envelopes?

  3. kamaaina808:

    Whoa. You've really flipped a breaker haven't you...

  4. Truth Be Told:

    Who are these official observers and how much of the ballot counting and transportation process are they observing? Are any of the votes transmitted to the Capitol via electronic means? Is it at all possible that a person with "Black Hat" skills could intercept and manipulate the results?

  5. Bart Dame:

    Innocent Observer appears to only be "innocent" of understanding the facts. The decision to rely upon onsite, walk-in voting was not made "unilaterally." It was made in conjunction with Hawaii County officials, including the County Clerk, in consultation with the AG's Office and relying upon reports from the disaster relief agencies charged with assessing the conditions.

    Once the decision was made to use onsite voting, the election could not have been delayed longer than 7 days. I do not understand why it could not have been held on the Saturday, rather than the Friday, as that extra 24 hours would have been helpful for voters trying to plan how they could get to the polling place. But it is my understanding it was Hawaii County officials who pressed for the Friday election, instead of the Saturday vote.

  6. Chicken Grease:

    And if no one's gonna say it, a Grease'll say it; here, first, from Wikipedia on its "Puna, Hawaii" entry:

    If Puna continues to develop at the present rate within the framework of the extensive subdivisions, there will be several significant, long-term consequences.

    An increasing number of people and property improvements are being put at risk due to natural hazards. All of Puna lies within the three most hazardous geological risk zones: Lava Hazard Zones 1, 2 and 3 (LF1, LF2, and LF3). About 6,400 subdivision lots lie in the highest hazard zone, LF1, and over 500 of these are exposed to additional risks from subsidence, tsunami and earthquakes. The fact 2,038 lots in the lower hazard zone LF2 have been covered or cut off by lava flows in recent decades underscores the hazardous nature of much of the district.

    Yeah. Tolkien's Mount doom-ville.

    So, for starters . . . the HELL are people allowed to frackin' LIVE there? Huh? Smarty i.o. pants? Wanna answer THAT question for me? Oh, d'a ones who like live d'a country keep d'a country country should be allowed to live d'ere, no? Well, there consequences for doing exactly that, and that means mail-in voting might very well be the BEST way for Puna residents to vote due to the propensity and unpredictability.

    But, apparently a lot of them DIDN'T or DON'T do exactly that -- mail in voting. Don't give me this belly aching of some retiree going, "oh, no, I like to vote in d'a actual elections day." Hogwash. And, admittedly, maybe THIS is where Scott Nago and Legion of the Office of Elections need to be more progressive; that is in ENCOURAGING voters in bad areas to vote absentee.

    It just is, you know? Feeling less and less sorry for the Puna-ists when it comes to this damn Primary, you know? Collectively, they didn't seem to look around and see, "oh, wait, now, LAVA MIGHT IMPEDE MY PATH TO VOTING ON ELECTION DAY. I should absentee ballot."

    You have many chances and many ways to vote. YOU gotta make the effort if you want your vote to count.

  7. Pay to play is the game:

    Only an unintelligent person would cite wikipedia. How was that election for you GW?

  8. zzzzzz:

    Bart, I think what most people question is the decision to use onsite voting.

  9. Chicken Grease:

    Pay to play is the game:
    August 26th, 2014 at 11:25 am
    Only an unintelligent person would cite wikipedia. How was that election for you GW?

    Dude. It's all about how you use it :D. A Grease knows how to use it 🙂 . A Grease only cited that reference for convenience — do your own research if you're unconvinced. You'll see that it's undisputed.

    Like a Grease 🙂 .

    Walked into that one, and "paid" for it, didn't you?

  10. Bart Dame:


    I wish there was a well-constructed critique so we could examine each claim and weigh its merits. Instead, I have seen people throw a side range of criticisms and bounce from one to the next, not waiting, or caring, to pause long enough to test the validity of each criticism.

    The decision to shift from mail-in to walk-in voting has been mentioned a lot. So let's pause and look at that.

    I will admit, when I first heard the plan to rely upon mail-in ballots, I had my doubts. While I think the problems of mail-in voting under normal circumstances are acceptable, those vulnerabilities would be greater under the special conditions of the two precinct make-up election. Already, we had the report of the husband and wife on Kauai who had had their ballots intercepted, with someone filling out and sending in his completed ballot. The intense pressures of the hanging US Senate race, combined with the problems of the post-Iselle conditions, would likely lead to plenty of misplaced or undelivered ballots. The odd peculiarities of the Senate race, with both campaigns, and the voters, knowing exactly how many votes were needed, also meant delaying the completion of the election for 21 days would probably force the campaigns to pump a lot of resources, volunteers and money into the two precincts in order to win. (Schatz could afford to play it cool, but Hanabusa would be compelled to bring in volunteers to boost both the turnout and her support. Is there a point at which the artificial conditions of a mail-in election, too long delayed, risks producing results different from what would have happened had the storm not intervened, had the voters --had the campaigns--not known in advance what the vote count was? Is the "artificiality" of the special conditions a valid concern?

    If we make the reasonable (to me) assumption the turnout in those four precincts of HD 4 would have been roughly the same as the rest of Hawaii County and the historical rate, would a special effort by the campaigns, or by the voters themselves, recognizing the special power in their hands, which resulted in a turnout of 50, 60, or 70% be a good thing or a bad thing? The argument, advanced by some, that the Office of Elections was obliged to subordinate their considerations to the pre-eminent criterion of maximizing voter turnout, would say an atypical, higher turnout would be a good thing.

    Russell Ruderman makes the very valid point that most of us are focused on the Senate race or the House race, results which probably would not have changed under a "fair enough" voting process. But he says the council incumbent only had 53% of the vote and the area he lived in was able to vote with little impairment, but the area his top opponent lives in was especially hard hit and it is LIKELY (in Rudermen's view) that a "fair" election in THAT race would have resulted in a run-off between the top two candidates.

    That objection causes me concern. I don't know how to resolve it easily. Is the second place candidate in the council race, and his supporters in the community, collateral damage in an effort to maintain the integrity of the US Senate results?

    I don't see a clean answer. But I certainly don't see anything which leads me to conclude Scott Nago deserves to lose his job because of his decision on this. And, my source tells me that Scott did not only consult with Hawaii County officials before making the decision for onsite walk-in voting, I was told the Office was prepared to go ahead with an all-mail vote until Hawaii county officials convinced them walk-in was a better approach. Is that correct? I dunno. But few of Nago's critics appear to care. It is so much easier to put the blame on the "Honolulu bureaucrat" unconcerned about the actual circumstances on the ground in Puna. Someone get a rope.

    That doesn't sit right with me.

  11. Gerald de Heer:

    Bart, you have presented a well-reasoned analysis in this forum. In spite of the Puna and Maui voting/counting problems, etc, Nago should not be fired. Nago and Yoshina did their best and should be spared the scorn directed at them. The problem for both of them is they do not communicate effectively through televisions. When the elections process is questioned they make easy targets. In the public relations department, they have failed. On the other hand, they have done their jobs, under-staffed, under-funded, in the glare of critics who prefer making points over finding facts. There are a number of problems with the conduct of elections in Hawaii. A good starting point would be an objective audit (personnel, financial, operations) conducted by the Legislative Auditor and County Auditors. Then create a genuine blue ribbon panel that will evaluate and make suggestions for the entire elections process, couties and state. Simply firing Nago will not work, and may even make matters worse once the new administrator finds out what is really going on.

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