Machines cause headaches during makeup election


A shutdown of electronic voting machines caused a long delay Friday for voters from the Hawaiian Paradise Park precinct, who were unable to vote in Saturday’s Primary Election because of Tropical Storm Iselle.

When the makeup polls opened Friday at 7 a.m., voters were separated into two lines — one for Hawaiian Paradise Park voters and one for Hawaiian Beaches/Shores — at Keonepoko Elementary School in Hawaiian Beaches subdivision. Each line was allotted eight electronic voting machines.

Some time before 11 a.m., elections workers noted that line for voters from Hawaiian Paradise Park had gotten too long, and they opted to add eight more machines. But in doing so, they were forced to shut the system down to connect the new machines.

An election troubleshooter reported that the line of voters was slowed down for between 15 and 20 minutes, but some people leaving the polls said they had waited much longer. One woman said that the line for Hawaiian Paradise Park hadn’t moved for about 45 minutes.

An election worker reported that at least three voters had walked away. At 11:15 a.m., approximately 125 people were waiting in the Hawaiian Paradise Park line.

Keaau resident Alan Rudo emailed Stephens Media Hawaii saying he “gave up trying to vote today in the primary.”

“First drove to polling station to learn they closed it and had to go to Pahoa, only to find two-plus hour wait, electronic only voting, super hot inside and then machines went down. Whoʻs bright idea was this? Many walked away,” he wrote.

Despite the setbacks, Democratic Party Chairman David Tarnas, who was acting as a poll watcher, said that 607 ballots had been cast as of 11:30 a.m.

“The Elections Division has done a great job,” he said. “We want to show the world that Puna votes.”