President's Report (Jackie Parnell)
Education Committee (Mary Anne Raywid)
Con Con (Jean Aoki)
LWV-US on Presidentional Selection (Jackie Parnell & Jackie Parnell)
Elections (Jean Aoki)
Chapter Reports - Honolulu (Piilani Kaopuiki)
Chapter Reports - Hawaii (Leilani Bronson-Crelly & Sue Dursin)
Chapter Reports - Kauai (Carol Bain & Lisa Ellen Smith)
Calendar Items? (Stephen Trussel)
Calendar of Events
Commission Releases Names of Finalists
According to the Agenda for the December 4th meeting of the Elections Commission, the five leading contenders for the position of Chief Elections Officer had been whittled down to three, and surprise, surprise, the names of the three were listed on the agenda so that anyone who wanted to testify on their behalf could do so.
The three candidates were Rex Quidilla who is serving as interim CEO, Scott Nago, the current Counting Center Supervisor among other things, and Kevin Cronin of whom we had no information until the night before the meeting, and Googling didn't help.
Having heard that the Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS) had adopted a policy of not releasing any information on the finalists for the position of Chief Elections Officer due to privacy concerns, I did call the Office of the Comptroller who heads DAGS. I was advised to e-mail a letter to Mr. Saito which I did, trying to make a case that in filling a position as important to the people as that of the Chief Elections Officer, greater transparency is needed in order to foster public trust in our elections process. (The Elections Office is attached to DAGS for administrative purposes although it does operate pretty much as an independent agency.)
I must say we got a prompt reply. I was told that anyone can get a redacted curriculum vitae of the three candidates by asking Zale Okazaki, a commissioner and head of the selections committee Of course, this begs the question, "Why is this not on the Elections Office website with all the other commission Information?"
Readiness for the 2008 Elections
At the November 8th meeting, the commissioners had spent some time asking Mr. Quidilla about the State's readiness for the 2008 elections. Quidilla seemed confident that the Best and Final Offers from the voting machine vendors would come in on time and that the office would be able to educate the voters and the precinct workers on whatever system is finally selected.
Bart Dame, Co-Chair of Safe Vote Hawaii -- the group dedicated to making sure that our elections are fair and honest and that our voting machines are designed to count votes accurately and are tamper-proof -- had questioned the lack of transparency in the procurement system. He also questioned the need for a 10-year contract when technological advances could change our machines drastically in the next few years. He recommended that we stick to the optical scan machines except for the few direct recording electronic machines (DRE's) to aid the disabled until such time as the DRE's are improved as far as operating reliability is concerned and that the software is made available for inspection.
From the news from other states that they are changing over to optical scan machines after spending millions purchasing DRE's the last few years, that appears to be prudent advice. Besides, there have been some good improvements on the optical scan machines, both the precinct level machines and the counting machines in the central counting center. And, of course, with less than a year before the September 20 Primary Election, the training and education of precinct workers and voters to a new voting system would present great challenges. Besides, as long as we have unrestricted absentee voting, paper ballots will be necessary.
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