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Kawauchi to Hold Press Conference on Voter Registry

Posted July 31, 2012, 06:13 PM HST
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County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi, shown making a presentation on elections preparations earlier this month, will hold a press conference Wednesday. File photo.

County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi will hold a press conference at mid-day Wednesday to address the results of a recent review of Hawai`i County’s voter registry, her office announced late this afternoon.

Kawauchi has reportedly been meeting this week in Honolulu with lawyers from the state attorney general’s office. She has declined to comment on the subjects discussed.

As county clerk, Kawauchi has been in charge of the county’s Election Division since being appointed to her post by County Council Chairman Dominic Yagong following the 2010 election.

Kawauchi has been under fire from the state’s chief election officer, Scott Nago, who last week told Kawauchi that her recent actions were undermining public confidence in the integrity of the primary election scheduled for Aug. 11.

In a letter sent a week ago, Nago was critical of Kawauchi’s decision to close the Hilo election office on July 23 without an explanation. Kawauchi said the closure was necessary to complete an examination of the voter registry.

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Nago also took Kawauchi to task for not being in touch with his office as he had requested, or with the media. She has returned only one of numerous calls made to her by Big Island Now in the past 10 days.

Her task of organizing the election has been complicated by this year’s redrawing of state and county political boundaries.

She has also been doing without the services of longtime elections administrator Pat Nakamoto, who was fired early this year. Nakamoto was recently reinstated following a union grievance process but is currently on paid administrative leave and has not returned to her position.

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