Green Party Sues Hawaii Elections Chief Over Ballot Shortages

Nathan Eagle/Honolulu Civil Beat

The Green Party of Hawaii has asked a state court to stop the chief elections officer from conducting another election until there are new rules in place to prevent the type of voter disenfranchisement that occurred in November.

Dozens of polling places ran low on paper ballots during the 2012 general election, causing voters to either stand in line for hours or just abandon the effort altogether.

Maui attorney Lance Collins, representing the Green Party and seven individual plaintiffs from around the state, said Monday that Hawaii Elections Chief Scott Nago's mishandling of the election has eroded public confidence in the entire process.

The lawsuit filed Friday in 2nd Circuit Court alleges that when Nago repealed the entire set of administrative rules in January 2010 and replaced them with new rules, he failed to adopt a rule regarding the methodology used to determine the number of blank ballots to be printed for an election.

The methodology his staff used for the general election — upping the number of ballots 25 percent over the amount cast in the primary — led to his office having to rush out ballots to 51 polling places that ran low on Election Day. Almost two dozen sites ran out completely.

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