Kawauchi Names Another Temporary Elections Administrator
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by Dave Smith
Hawaii County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi said today she has appointed another interim administrator for the county’s Election Division.
Elizabeth Lehua Iopa, an elections specialist who has worked in the division since February 2008, will be the temporary program administrator, Kawauchi said.
Kawauchi said Iopa has her support.
“I am very thankful for her help and I am confident that she will do a good job for her community,” Kawauchi said in a statement issued late this afternoon.
“I am excited about the opportunity to serve the community,” Iopa said in the statement. “I will try my very best to do a good job and to make sure that the general election runs well.”
Iopa is the Big Island’s third election administrator this year.
Pat Nakamoto, who held the position since 2000, was fired by Kawauchi in January for violating the county’s policy of no alcohol in the workplace for allegedly drinking at a 2010 post-election party at the county’s rented election warehouse and for alleged involvement in private business being conducted there.
She has since been reinstated to her position but is out on stress leave. She and another fired election worker have filed defamation lawsuits against the county.
Nakamoto’s replacement, Arlene Boteilho, was introduced to the media in July, but went out on stress leave shortly before the Aug. 11 primary election, the result of long overtime hours prior to the election, sources speaking on condition of anonymity have told Big Island Now.
Hawaii County had a litany of problems during the election that led to nearly a third of precincts opening late, prompting the governor to keep all Big Island voting stations open for an additional 90 minutes.
Kawauchi has also been criticized by state election officials, the League of Women Voters and several members of the County Council for her lack of communication and participation in post-election workshops and other activities.