Yoshina's temporary replacement named
Rex Quidilla is interim state chief election officer until May 10
A state commission named Office of Elections spokesman Rex Quidilla as interim state chief election officer, while searching for a permanent director.
The state Elections Commission met for five hours yes- terday, much of it in a closed-door session discussing a replacement for Dwayne Yoshina, who had been chief election officer since 1996 but resigned last month.
The commission, comprised of four Democrats and four Republicans, was not able to get the needed two-thirds vote to support motions to either ask Yoshina to remain as an interim appointment or select Quidilla as an interim appointment until a permanent director is approved.
But the commission did agree to install Quidilla as an interim election chief until the commission's next meeting on May 10.
Meanwhile, commission acting Chairwoman Susan Russell said the group will form a subcommittee of commissioners, members of the League of Women Voters and the county clerks to review the procedures for picking an interim election chief and the qualifications for a permanent chief.
STAR-BULLETIN / 2004
Volunteers helped conduct accuracy tests on voting machines at the state Capitol before the 2004 general election.
The importance of the selection was evident, as both the Republican Party chairman, Sam Aiona, the Oahu county Democratic chairwoman, Annelle Amaral, and Attorney General Mark Bennett attended yesterday's meeting.
Quidilla had said he would work in the interim capacity but stopped short of saying he wanted the job on a permanent basis.
"If we are entering a protracted period without a permanent elections officer, we still have to get ready for a call for proposals for new elections system," Quidilla warned.
The current state election system is made up of two incompatible election systems of electronic voting machines and optically scanned ballots. The vote totals are brought together with a third computer system, and the complexity has led to delays in reporting the results, according to election officials.
Besides the problems with picking a new election officer, the commission has been unable to pick a ninth member. According to state law, the eight members are to pick a chairman.
Democrat Harold Masumoto had served as the first acting chairman, and the position is now held by Republican Russell.
"The commission has been discussing the ninth member, but very few people have stepped forward. At every meeting, I have said, 'Please, this is vitally important,'" Russell said.