Who's on first at the Elections Commission?
MEMO to Editors: Please file this for the 2008 primary election.
SUBJECT: Status of primary election returns.
You want to know when the state elections office will report who won, even though in past elections it hasn't been until 3 a.m.
You want to know totals, how many votes everyone got and which areas really liked or disliked a candidate.
Please refer to stories written in March of 2007 to explain why this might not be feasible.
There have been some delays.
The first delay was that the guy who used to run the elections, the state chief elections officer, Dwayne Yoshina, had to be reappointed. The state Elections Commission found out on Feb. 10, 2007, that Yoshina wanted to be reappointed. This was a surprise to the commission members, because they hadn't realized that Yoshina's term in office was up on Jan. 31, 2007.
Lucky, we didn't have to hold a special election during those two weeks when there was no elections officer.
Things then got a tad complex. This elections commission appoints the elections officer every four years. But it doesn't have any rules or regulations to tell it how to appoint the elections officer. Since 1996, when the commission took over from the lieutenant governor's office in supervising elections, Yoshina has been in charge.
Whenever a commissioner said they should look for new candidates, someone said they needed rules, and then someone else made a motion to rehire Yoshina and that passed. Someone else would make a motion to ask for a budget, because the commission didn't even have money to go around the state holding hearings on the rules and regulations. Yoshina said his office would give them the money, but the commissioners thought that might be a conflict.
Then Yoshina surprised everyone by saying he didn't want the job anymore. So the commissioners held a meeting to ask him to stay on until they found someone else.
But there weren't enough votes to pass that motion. Then they tried a motion to name Rex Quidilla, the deputy elections officer, as interim officer. That didn't pass, either.
They finally did pass a motion to name Quidilla the interim director until they could name someone else interim director and figure out how to find someone to take the job full-time.
So then we found out that besides not having rules, not having a budget and not having a chief elections officer, the commission also doesn't have a chairman or chairwoman.
The commission has four Democrats and four Republicans and they can't agree who should be the ninth commissioner. I don't know if they asked Yoshina, but counting votes in 2008 might be a bit iffy.