State’s primary ballots are printed
Political parties had not reviewed them prior to printing, in violation of the law
Hawaii ballots for the state's Sept. 20 primary election contain the correct names, even though they were printed before the eligibility of two candidates was resolved, Chief Election Officer Kevin Cronin said yesterday.
The ballots still have not been made available for review by Hawaii's political parties, as required by law before they're printed. Instead, copies of the ballots are being mailed to the parties, Cronin said.
"There's no problem with the ballots from my point of view," Cronin said. "All the names of the candidates have been proofed diligently by our staff who worked over several days."
Cronin sent the ballots to the printing press Wednesday, the same day he made a ruling that Isaac Choy was eligible to run for the Manoa House seat being vacated by House Majority Leader Kirk Caldwell, who was later disqualified from running for Honolulu City Council.
Choy's name is on the ballot, and Caldwell's is not.
"I don't understand how they can print these things without having had a review," said Hawaii Republican Party Chairman Willes Lee. "It is infuriating, and I'm sure the Democrats are feeling the same way."
Hawaii prohibits write-in voting.
Cronin ruled that Choy, a Democrat, could run as a replacement candidate after the previous candidate, Chrystn Eads, was disqualified for failing to get the required number of signatures before the July 22 filing deadline. He's running against Republican Jeri Jeffryes.
Absent from the ballot is Caldwell, whose candidacy was voided by the Honolulu city clerk Friday because he didn't withdraw from the House race until the day after the filing deadline. State law prohibits candidates from running in two races at the same time.
Caldwell's name was left off the ballot because county council races with two or fewer candidates aren't voted on until the Nov. 4 general election, Cronin said. The only remaining candidate for that seat is former City Councilman Duke Bainum.
The embattled elections chief, who earns $94,795 a year, has been criticized for the confusion surrounding the candidate filing deadline and for failing to register to vote until July 25, a requirement of the job he was hired for in February. The state Elections Commission gave Cronin its "continued support" last week.
Cronin said last week he had to hurry to print the ballots so they'd be ready for absentee voting and the primary election. He also said questions about the accuracy of the ballots would be worked out, and apparently they have.
Democrats have complained about the lack of transparency from the state so far this election year.
"They haven't communicated with us," said Florence Kong Kee, Hawaii Democratic Party political director. "I don't know what's going on."