In the wake of problems with the Nov. 6 general election, a lawsuit was filed Dec. 7 against Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago by the Green Party of Hawaii and seven individual voters. It claims that paper ballot shortages and long wait times caused voter disenfranchisement.
Plaintiffs’ attorney Lance D. Collins is asking the circuit court to strike down the methods used to determine how many paper ballots are printed, how blank ballots are distributed to precincts and how reserve ballots are delivered to polling places that run low. On other islands, polling places that ran low were able to get extra ballots quickly, whereas on Oahu it took hours.
Nago had also said that the method of determining how many ballots were needed (the number of ballots used in the primary plus 25 percent) would probably never be used again. The formula was used, he said, because reapportionment made it impossible to use the regular formula, which is based on the previous general election. The lawsuit also addresses how ballots that were cast in the wrong precincts were counted. Some polling places received ballots for the wrong districts, but the problem was only discovered when voters told poll workers that candidates for races they were supposed to be voting on were not on the ballot.
The lawsuit alleges that the Office of Elections’s methodology did not comply with rulemaking statutes, and is therefore invalid.