Bronster regretsBy Craig Gima
remark about Waianae
State Attorney General Margery Bronster is apologizing for statements that suggested the education level of people in a Waianae precinct might be a factor in the unusually high number of disqualified votes in the general election.
The high number of "overvotes" where people voted for more than one candidate in the House race between Democrat Merwyn Jones and Republican Emily Auwae was later traced to machine error.
State Sen. Colleen Hanabusa (D, Waianae) said the statement by the attorney general and Pearl Imada Iboshi from the Department of Business and Economic Development, as reported in a Dec. 29 Star-Bulletin article, prompted her to begin an investigation into what went wrong in the election. That investigation eventually led to a resolution asking for a complete recount of the general election results that is scheduled to begin this weekend.
"I went to school there. I'm part of that community," Hanabusa said, adding that she was personally insulted by the remark.
"I don't know why it took them so long to say I'm sorry," she said. Hanabusa sent a letter to the attorney general on Jan. 18 asking for the apology and an explanation of what happened.
In a letter to Hanabusa yesterday, Bronster expressed her "sincerest apologies" for the statements and noted that "neither disrespect nor insult was intended."
The statements by Iboshi were part of a legal brief intended to rebut an analysis done by an expert for the Democratic Party. The analysis by a University of Hawaii professor showed the number of overvotes in the race was statistically impossible.
Bronster said the statements in her brief were meant to show factors that should be considered when determining the credibility of a survey and "not intended to be directed at any particular group."
"I'm glad they apologized, but I doubt they would have made those statements about other communities," Hanabusa said.
She said she thinks Iboshi, the attorney general and the Office of Elections would have thought twice before making that kind of statement if the overvotes had occured in a precinct in Manoa or Hawaii Kai.