Primary Election Day in Hawaii

Election 2018

 

By Melvin Ah Ching

Primary election day came and went in Hawaii. The usual suspects, perennial candidates and newcomers all made a run for their party’s nomination to high profile government positions in the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Governor and Lt. Governor, seats in the Hawaii State Legislature, City Councils and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

Elections are the best opportunity for the people of Hawaii (or anywhere else) to vote poorly performing incumbents out of office and give new people a chance to run the government. More often than not, the incumbent candidates usually win, especially in Hawaii.

I went to my precinct polling place and cast my ballot during the lunch hour. The polling place was not very crowded, which meant that it was easy to fill out the poll book, get my ballot and cast my vote.

Almost too easy.

First off, I walked to table A to E to sign the poll book. I told the old woman who was at the table that my last name starts with A. She gave me the book, I flipped through a few pages, found my name and affixed my signature to the space next to it.

She then gave me the red and white “Ballot Secrecy Folder” with my ballot.

I walked to an empty voting booth and once behind the striped curtain, I pulled my ballot out. To my surprise there were two ballots! The woman had given me two ballots.

The brief thought of actually casting two votes per candidate was a bit amusing for just a brief moment. But my honesty and fear of criminal prosecution kicked in. I walked out of the booth and showed the lady my two ballots and gave one of them back to her.

I went back in and spent a few minutes casting my votes, and yes, snapped pictures of my ballot. The photos were taken before I marked the ballot. I forgot to take a picture of the two ballots I briefly had. Darn.

I took a picture after I cast my votes to remember who I voted for years from now.

Regular readers of this blog probably know who I may have voted for, though I have not posted many political things here, nor to the other blog I set up to do just that. Lazy I guess, but lately I’ve too busy to keep up with my own blogs when I have other priorities.

I voted, walked out of the booth and over to the place where the machine collected the ballot. I gently nudged the ballot into the slot of the machine and like a photocopier, it slid in with no problem. The small LED screen indicated my ballot was proper and a small American flag showed up to confirm my vote.

Having worked once as a poll observer at an election several years ago, I know that when the paper ballots slide into the machine, votes are counted by the reader built in to it. The black marks made on the ballot are optically scanned and registered to a flash card mounted inside the machine. At the end of the voting day, the cards and ballots are picked up and taken back to the State Capitol for processing and counting.

I don’t think anyone counts the actual paper ballots though they are collected and put into safe boxes for transport back to the State Capitol Counting Center and later to the State Elections Office somewhere in Pearl City for storage.

I can imagine a gigantic warehouse full of old ballots that were kept from past elections that probably looks like the place where the Ark of the Covenant was stored at the end of the first Indiana Jones movie. I wonder if they keep all of the old paper ballots and for how long.

I got my voter confirmation slip. The deed was done.

 

The slip was handed to me by a guy who was monitoring the machine near the exit doorway. Off in a corner was one electronic voting machine which no one was using.

As I left my polling place one observation came to mind.

I was not asked to show an I.D. when I first signed the book. Did the lady at the table forget to ask me to show my I.D.? I know in the past, I had to show my I.D. before I signed the book and got a ballot.

The State of Hawaii does require voters to show an I.D.

So the question is how many people were allowed to vote without an I.D.?

Then there is that two ballot thing. How often does this occur? You know in past elections, I do recall that there were two people sitting at the sign in table. One person got you to sign the book, checked your I.D. and another person on the same table handed you the ballot in the folder.

Why the change I wonder? Did the Office of Elections not have enough workers to cover the election? Are officials from the various parties monitoring the election at each precinct?

Despite those concerns, we can generally rest assured that the process went smoothly after the polls closed.

The process will be repeated all over again for the November 6 General Election.

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Hawaii – Island of Fire

The Hawaii Files Volcano Watch

“Hawaii – Island of Fire” is an insightful report into the Kilauea eruption and its impact on the residents of Leilani Estates as well as the government officials who are tasked with managing this disaster.

 While the eruption of Kilauea has been nothing short of spectacular and tragic at the same time, it is with note that I remind readers that the eruption’s lava flows are impacting less than 5% of the Island of Hawaii (Big Island).

While sensational reports of the eruption have been shown worldwide, officials at the State and County of Hawaii remind would-be visitors that Hawaii and the Big Island is open for business. The port in Hilo is open as well as all of the airports on the Big Island and the rest of the state. Tourists are encouraged not to cancel travel plans. Those visiting the Big Island are urged to patronize island businesses in the Puna and Volcano area.

The USGS map below show the impact of the active lava inundation areas as of May 28, 2018.

Be sure to check our Hawaii Volcano Videos collection on YouTube. It is a 500+ list of the most relevant videos pertaining to the current eruption with some historic ones thrown in.

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Physician Assisted Suicide Bill Should Be Deep Sixed

Hawaii State Legislature Update

Once again the Hawaii State Legislature has decided to bring up the issue of Physician  Assisted Suicide. This year the State House of Representatives has introduced HB 2739 which would allow your doctor, with your consent, to kill you with a lethal dose of medication within a six month period of your pending death.

This bill essentially legalizes murder and offers no respect for the sanctity of human life. The  lives of our elderly and sick should not be subjected to such a law. The only thing that needs to be killed is this bill. 

HB 2739 is getting a public hearing this coming Tuesday, February 27 at the State Capitol Auditorium starting at 10:30 A.M. Testimony is now being taken online or at the following online site: https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/login/login.aspx

It seems the legislature is no longer taking email testimony. To submit testimony using the above link, one must be a registered user of the State Legislature’s website.

An alternate method is to send testimony in by fax: 808 586-6311 or 800-535-3899.

Committee members can also be reached by going through the respective links below to access their email and other contact information.

House Judiciary Committee

House Committee on Health and Human Services

Here is a link to the hearing notice: Source: Hearing HHS-JUD 02-27-18.

Additional Links:

Focus on the Family: Reasons to Oppose Physician-Assisted Suicide

 

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Phantom Missile Alert in Hawaii

Generic News Banner

So what’s up with the missile attack warning that was sounded early this morning at the 8 o clock hour? Many Hawaii residents statewide got cell phone text messages that read:

“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT DRILL.”

Several of my friends got the message by cell phone text alert. I did not.

The first I heard about this was a text that I got from my friend Daniel which read: “Did you just get an emergency text????” I answered in the negative. No text message for me. He followed up, “I am not joking.” He attached the screen shot from his phone as shown below:

Emergency Text Message
The emergency text that came to many cell phone early this morning (Jan. 13).

A few moments later, my friend Lisa called. She was in a state of panic. It was aggravating to her since she is also down and out with a viral strain of influenza. She also got the emergency text message.

Talking to her on the phone, I told her that it was probably a false alarm, but also to listen to the radio. I began to think it was a false alarm even if I was worried for a few minutes after the initial call.

What prompted me to this was the fact that when I turned the radio to KSSK AM & FM (where they have in the past did outstanding broadcasts of local emergencies) there was nothing to be found except for a re-run of a previous Perry & Price radio program.

Nothing there. This is likely a false alarm.

While talking to Lisa on my landline phone, I called Daniel on the cell phone. He told me his wife Emma had called the 911 emergency number who told her that it was, indeed a false alarm.

Just to make doubly sure, I called 911 after I got off the phone with Daniel. By then everyone else was probably in a panic as the 911 number was busy. Pity the poor soul who had to call if it was an actual emergency. Goes to show that in a massive alert scenario, that calling 911 will likely yield a busy signal unless you get in early.

Soon I took to Facebook where my friends and others were commenting on the situation. In about a half hour it was agreed and known among many that the emergency texts were a false  alarm.

Surely someone at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency has to take responsibility for this major false alarm. A breaking news article published at the Honolulu Star Advertiser website stated that an “employee pushed the wrong button,” during a shift change.

An investigation is likely pending. Governor David Ige had a few words to say at this press conference today (KHON TV video):

Vern T. Miyagi, Administrator for the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency says they are investigating the incident and procedures. He did not or was not able to answer questions as to who specifically pressed the button at the agency and why not all cell phone users got the emergency text message.

The Governor and  agency have stated that they will not let this type of false alarm happen again.

There likely will be further news, discussion and legislative hearings on this in the coming days and weeks.

Hawaii can rest assured, that despite the dire warning and short term panic, that today’s “missile attack” was not the real thing. Perhaps it is a wake-up call to bring this issue to the forefront and help us be prepared for the next time.

 

 

 

 

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