East Hawaii News

Police Investigating Computer Access at Elections Office

September 12, 2012, 5:18 PM HST
* Updated September 13, 10:13 AM
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Add computer tampering to the list of concerns facing the person in charge of Big Island elections.

A day after police announced an investigation into possible voter fraud in the 2010 election based on information provided by County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi, police confirmed that they are looking into possible criminal activity involving a computer at the county’s Election Division.

According to police Maj. Sam Thomas, at about 10:20 a.m. Monday Kawauchi reported that someone had accessed a computer using another person’s log-in code.

That would be a violation of state law, Thomas said.

According to the law, Section 708-0895.6 of Hawaii Revised Statutes, a person commits unauthorized computer access in the second degree if the person “knowingly accesses a computer, computer system, or computer network without authorization and thereby obtains information.”

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Such a violation is a class “C” felony, which carries a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to $10,000.

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Thomas said the law, which was established in 2001, could apply to both government and private computers.

He said it is not yet clear whether there was any tampering of information on the computer.

“At this point it’s just an access issue but we haven’t had time to do forensics,” Thomas said.

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Kawauchi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

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