- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 1, 2014

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) - An audit prompted by Hawaii County’s problematic 2012 primary election found inadequate oversight, communications and documentation.

Hilo Councilman Dennis Onishi requested an audit of the 2012 election cycle because of concerns about overtime charges.

The audit found a lack of supporting documentation for some transactions and overtime charges in both the county-run primary and state-run general elections, West Hawaii Today (https://ow.ly/viN0i) reported Tuesday.

Many Big Island polling places opened late on primary day, leading the governor to issue an unusual proclamation to keep the island’s polls open 90 minutes longer. Some disgruntled employees stayed home, precinct cellphones weren’t working properly and election materials were sent to the wrong districts. The state took over management of that year’s general election.

The audit found that the 2012 cycle cost $1.5 million, compared to $1.8 million for the 2008 election. In 2010, when fewer voters came to the polls, the election also cost $1.5 million.

Council members say it’s more important to have elections conducted correctly than cheaply.

“We also want to make sure the saving of money doesn’t impact the whole election,” said Kona Councilman Dru Kanuha. “The 2012 election cycle was a fiasco. … It was crazy.”

County Elections Administrator Pat Nakamoto managed the 2008 and 2010 elections but not the 2012 one. She told councilmembers many variables affect election costs.

“Every election cycle has different costs and expenditures,” Nakamoto said. “The audit was really comparing apples to oranges.”

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Information from: West Hawaii Today, https://www.westhawaiitoday.com

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