Hawaii Elections Commission Testimony
September 26, 2007
Good morning. I am Jean Aoki representing the League of Women Voters of Hawaii.
I am addressing the amended agenda, specifically item VI . Executive Session pursuant to HRS 92.5(a)(2)-Sub committee to provide its report on the recruitment of the Chief Elections Officer.
The League of Women Voters as an organization does not endorse political candidates for elective office nor does it endorse candidates for appointive office. But we do advocate for the right of the public to a transparent process in the appointment of officials to the more important offices.
Surely, we’re entitled to a report on the status of the search for the Chief Elections Officer. This position is of vital importance to the citizens of our state. While all of the qualifications and requirements for selection as CEO listed -- integrity, knowledge, leadership etc --. are important, equally important is the independence of this office, free from partisan influence, and the freedom to act in the best interest of all of the citizens of this state. The citizens need to know that decisions made by the CEO are in their best interest, and need to know that their votes do count and are counted accurately and fairly.
Our nation has become more and more divided along partisan lines and this does not bode well for the nation.
The perception and the reality that our Elections Office remains above partisan politics is vital for our voters to maintain their trust in the electoral process. This requires a great deal of transparency in the selection of the Chief Elections Officer who will determine the policies and the steps to make the office as independent of partisan concerns and influences as is possible.
We would like you (this commission) to consider whether the privacy interests of the finalists for this office are not trumped by the State’s interest (citizens’ interest) in insuring an independent Elections Office.
Thank you for this opportunity to voice our concerns.