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ConCon Activities Planned (Jean Aoki)
Primer on ConCon (Jean Aoki)
President's Report (Jackie Parnell)
Concurrence Process on Drug Policy Underway (Suzanne Meisenzahl)
Campaign Finance Reform in Hawaii County - A First (Jackie Parnell & Beppie Shapiro)
Save this Date (Sue Miller)
Membership Directory
Women's International Meeting
Elections Are the People's Business (Jean Aoki)
Hawaii County Report (Susan Dursin)
Honolulu Report (Piilani Kaopuiki)
Calendar of Events

Elections Are the People's Business

With all of the problems in our elections process, one thing seems clear. The appointment of commissioners to the Elections Commission must be taken out of the hands of partisan politicians and placed in the hands of a nonpartisan body like the Judicial Council which now evaluates the qualifications of applicants for the Campaign Spending Commission (CSC) and the Ethics Commission and sends the two top candidates for each vacancy to the Governor for the final selection.

I have attended CSC meetings regularly, and participated in CSC workshops which made its proposed rules and advisory opinions available to interested parties. At one time, we regularly participated in critiquing proposed opinions and rules, not as an adversary but rather reflecting a shared desire to improve our campaign spending laws. I was not aware of any partisan differences of opinions among the CSC members.

Political Parties have their place in the electoral process -- fielding candidates for the positions to be filled. But the actual elections process, by which voters choose the representatives they want, is the people’s business. The elected and appointed officials who enact the laws and write the rules must do so with the voters in mind. The commission which is entrusted with the responsibility of hiring the Chief Elections Officer and, among other things, advising the Chief Elections Officer on matters relating to elections must be an independent body with only the best interest of the public in mind, and must operate in as open and transparent a fashion as is possible. How else can the public be assured that the best decisions are being made and the best people hired to run the elections? In fact, everything that has to do with the actual elections process, including the selection of vendors and voting machines, must be transparent. Remember, elections are the people's business.

Jean Aoki

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