State officials forecast smooth election
HILO — State elections officials on Thursday said they’re looking forward to a smooth General Election, now that they’ve taken over the reins following a problematic primary.
Chief Election Officer Scott Nago and Lori Tomczyk met with the media to describe Election Day logistics at the newly established election control and counting center in the state building in Hilo.
“The preparations are going very well. … We’re in a pretty good place,” Tomczyk said. “I feel very confident that we’ll do well on Election Day.”
Unlike previous elections, when the state sent out results in three or four batches, or printouts, this election the state has gone paperless and plans hourly updates of election results after the first update immediately after the polls close at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The updates will be posted on the state Office of Elections website, hawaii.gov/elections.
County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi, whose handling of the primary election led to criticism and ultimately the state takeover after 13 of the 40 county polling places opened late, said she’s offered to help the state staff if they’d like it. Kawauchi said she’s trying to set up a meeting with her state counterparts to go over final details.
“We are available should they need an extra set of hands,” Kawauchi said.
Kawauchi remains in charge of mail absentee and early voting, and she’s seeing an increase, with 23,613 people having voted by that method as of Wednesday — already surpassing the 23,101 who voted early in the primary.
Voters have until 6 p.m. Tuesday to have their mailed absentee ballots in the hands of election officials, either by mailing them in time to arrive in Hilo by Nov. 6, or by delivering them to early walk-in voting places, the county Elections Division office in Hilo or at any polling place on election day.
Early walk-in voting continues from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. todayand Saturday at the West Hawaii Civic Center Building G, the Aupuni Center in Hilo and the Waimea Community Center.
The Elections Division Office in Hilo will be open from 7:45 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. today, even though it’s a furlough day and other county offices are closed. It will also be open those same hours Saturday, Kawauchi said.