Kawauchi Explains Absence From Monday Elections Meeting

Hawaii County clerk Jamae Kawauchi has an answer for why Hawaii County wasn’t represented at the state Office of Elections’ Monday meeting. 

The meeting, held on Oahu, was a routine gathering that brought together elections staff from across the state. Attendees were debriefed on voting hardware and software and had to opportunity to troubleshoot any equipment-related problems that arose on primary day.

Hawaii County was the only county that didn’t send delegates to the meeting. 

In a press release sent out today, Kawauchi explained that she had instead met with the voting equipment vendor’s regional manager in Hilo last Wednesday — the same day as an Elections Commission meeting that Kawauchi did not attend. She was the only county clerk absent from last week’s gathering.  

Kawauchi’s meeting with the manager included a standard debriefing on the equipment, she wrote. She advised the manager that Big Island voting machines worked well during the primary.

Kawauchi has come under fire in recent months for her mismanagement of Hawaii County elections operations and inconsistent communication with state elections officials and the media. The criticism skyrocketed on election day, when 13 Big Island polling places opened late.

After an ongoing back-and-forth with state chief of elections Scott Nago, Kawauchi last weekend agreed to participate in a series of problem-solving workshops in light of the primary-day fiascos. All the county clerks will attend the workshop. 

—Alia Wong

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