Governor Neil Abercrombie today issued the following statement regarding elections in the wake of the 2012 General Election, which resulted in significant long lines when several polling places on Oahu ran out of paper ballots.
The Governor's office does not have authority in overseeing the Office of Elections, but Governor Abercrombie is compelled to advocate for changes that will help to ensure voter participation in elections. (Under Hawaii Revised Statutes Section 11-1.6, the Chief Elections Officer is appointed by the Elections Commission. Under Section 11-7, all members of the Elections Commission are appointed by the Senate President, Senate Minority Leader, House Speaker and House Minority Leader.)
"This January, I will be proposing as part of my legislative package a measure to move our state toward 100 percent mail-in voting, which has been effective in other parts of the country. Moreover, absentee ballots have seen a steady increase and use over the last several elections, and there has been no evidence to question the accuracy and security of these ballots relative to traditional methods.
"I have also asked Attorney General David Louie to investigate the State Office of Elections and the circumstances that resulted in a shortage of paper ballots at numerous Oahu polling places on Nov. 6. This serious problem has tarnished the election process and eroded public confidence.
"The right to vote is one of our most cherished duties as U.S. citizens. Therefore, we must ensure that our voting process runs smoothly and efficiently.
"I agree with criticisms that the handling of election operations raises legitimate concerns. I do not plan to simply stand on the side and wait to see what the Office of Elections'own review may bring. At a minimum, we must consider new technologies that can help bring our election process into the 21st Century."