Thursday, September 25, 2008


CHASING A DUCK: Following-up on yesterday’s article about Bernard Carvalho’s ducking of the scheduled and now cancelled local-newspaper-sponsored debate tonight, we were able to learn today that Carvalho has a meeting scheduled tonight at his campaign headquarters according to a reliable source who saw it in his open date book.

When we asked we were able to confirm with Carvalho’s campaign manager Leonard Rapozo that there is an “executive committee” meeting scheduled for tonight- and every Thursday night- at campaign HQ.

Rapozo continued to stonewall us by refusing to answer whether in fact Carvalho will even be at the meeting tonight or whether that was the “event” that had been “previously scheduled”, causing his refusal to debate his opponent in the mayor’s race, Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura.

He did say that Carvalho will be attending “another event” but refused to say what and where that event was..

Rapozo also refused to confirm or deny the Honolulu location of Carvalho’s “event” tonight that was reported in the newspaper.

Rapozo did say that they received the invitation to the canceled debate on September 17, eight days before the day the debate was scheduled but would not answer further questions about the cancellation or provide any details regarding the nature or location of tonight’s “previously scheduled event”.

When asked if Carvalho would debate Yukimura at all, Rapozo said that they would be participating in a Chamber of Commerce event on October 23 although the format for that event is unclear at this time.

This morning’s Lihu`e Business Association “public forum” in Lihu`e at Duke's Kalapaki was not scheduled to be a debate or even a conversation between the two candidate and, as we reported yesterday, was not even going to have both candidates in the same room.

Carvalho’s opponent Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura did not respond to an email request for comment by press time although according to sources within the campaign but not authorized to speak on the campaign’s behalf she would welcome a chance to debate on the issues and is disappointed in the debate’s cancellation..

TGI newspaper did not respond to an email this morning asking for the date they sent the invitations or whether they will attempt to reschedule the only purportedly impartial forum/debate scheduled before the Nov. 4 mayoral election.


OUR BOWL RUNNETH OVER: We and a slew of others have severely criticized the way the Office of Elections and specifically it’s Chief Kevin Cronin conducted business this year- many times, on many matters.

But today the Honolulu Advertiser’s government reporter Derrick DePledge reported an absolutely stunning decrease in the reported number of ballots spoiled due to multi-party votes in Saturday’s primaries.

He reports:

Despite fears of voter confusion over a new ballot design, the number of ballots spoiled in Saturday's primary because voters chose candidates from more than one political party was a record low.

The state Office of Elections reported that just 257 ballots — 89 at the precinct level and 168 absentee ballots — were spoiled because of multiparty voting, out of 246,220 ballots cast. The number was minuscule considering that 5,231 ballots were invalidated by multiparty voting in the 2006 primary and 9,561 ballots were ruined in the 2004 primary

Wow. We went and checked the numbers because they seemed way too low to be true and sure enough, that’s what the official results reveal.

The changes to this year’s ballots were under fire when they were printed before anyone saw them, especially the candidates and political parties, as required by law.

In the past voters merely were instructed to vote for only one party’s candidates in the partisan elections for state offices. But this year, in an attempt to reduce the number of voters who voted in more than one party’s primary, they had to check a box indicating their party preference.

One change to explain the difference was buried deep in the article and was pretty much unexplained but DePledge reported that

The Office of Elections also assigned two teams to sort through an estimated 1,000 absentee ballots in which voters failed to select a party. Cronin said staff examined the individual absentee ballots and counted the ones where it was apparent the voter favored one party.

Whether that was done in prior elections was not mentioned in the article but that kind of activity has never been reported in past elections

But even so that would still to explain the difference.

One difference could be the training of those who stand by the tabulating machines for the paper ballots. In the past the old machine did reject ballots that had votes for more than one party and the people were told they could either go get a new ballot or just let it go as is.

Whether there was increased vigilance and/or more prodding of people whose ballots were rejected by the machine to re-vote this year isn’t known at this time but is a possibility.

The reason for this lack of information as to the rules is because there aren’t any rules delineating procedures, which is the subject of a Maui lawsuit on which we reported earlier this election season.

But this certainly calls for further investigation by the Elections Bureau and poll-watchers because as anyone who studies numbers knows anomalies like this can be indicative of serious problems even if the numbers are a supposedly “positive” development.

Any cashier will tell you it doesn’t matter if you have too much or too little in the register, it’s wrong either way.

We smell some other explanation here but for now will just have to accept the numbers and look for other information. We welcome anyone’s observations or theories.

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