On Oahu, 24 Polling Places Run Out of Ballots

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Voters wait in line at Holy Trinity after the precinct runs out of paper ballots

Election officials have confirmed 24 out of 140 polling places on the island of Oahu ran out of paper ballots during the General Election on Tuesday, November 6. (See the list here – BALLOT INVENTORY ISSUES BY POLLING PLACE)

With just one electronic voting machine at each location, only about 10 voters per hour could be accommodated. Others waited in line for sometimes more than hour for additional paper ballots to arrive.


State Elections Office spokesman Rex Quidilla said the elections staff realized too late that the ballot order was incorrect. As the election staff rushed to deliver more ballots at locations across the island, their progress was slowed by afternoon traffic.

At Holy Trinity Church in Hawaii Kai, the precinct ran out of paper ballots around 4:15 p.m.

Additional paper ballots did not arrive until about an hour later. Voters were issued numbers on scraps of paper to determine their order, and within the hour, a volunteer on scene said more than a hundred scraps of paper had been issued. Many people sat in the bleachers or on the ground as the minutes passed.

Quidilla said the election administrators apologized for the error that left people across the island frustrated, and led some to leave the polls without voting.

“We have apologized publicly for the error. It was an error. When you do a ballot order, you don’t build it to fail, but it did,” Quidilla said.

While some voters have alleged the ballot troubles may have hurt their favorite candidates, Quidilla said no candidate as filed a formal complaint. If any candidates do opt to file a challenge to the election results, the complaint will go directly to the Hawaii Supreme Court for consideration.

On Hawaii Island, meanwhile, where several polls experienced problems during the August 11, 2012, Primary Election, all went smoothly during the General. The state Office of Elections took over the election management from the Hawaii County Clerk after numerous complaints. Maui and Kauai did experience a shortage of paper ballots but were able to correct the problem quickly without inconveniencing the public, Quidilla said.





  1. I have been told by someone who overheard an election official at Kapolei High School that after he announced to the crowd in line " Everyone in line will be able to vote"; then to an election poll worker he said privately in the parking lot, "all votes after 6 pm do not count put them in a cardboard box". The someone who overheard this was waiting in the parking lot and was not seen by the officials. My daughter lives in Kapolei and told me she put her ballot in a cardboard box like everyone else who voted after 6 pm. Did the ballot counting machines shut down at 6 pm. Were these votes counted later? Were the 20 polling places mostly republican voters? Class action law suit needed?

  2. The state shows overall turnout lower than the 2008 with the percentage of absentees higher. Yet they didn't have enough papaer ballots ready to go? Did they run out in 2008?

  3. Politics in this state DISGUSTS me. I cannot believe that the powers that be (i.e. the unions & corrupt politicians) would use scott nago as the SCAPEGOAT for the ballot fiasco in this election. I personally think that this was done purposely to have a certain outcome on this election, and that is that calldwell win & we have no choice but to have rail rammed down our throat. Some say the people have spoken but how can we if we were silenced by not having access to a ballot??? WTF?

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