Governor orders extension of hours for Hawaii Island polling places

HAWAII: Governor Neil Abercrombie has intervened in the 2012 primary election in Hawaii County, ordering an extension of time at polling places around the Big Island.

The polls were supposed to close by 6 p.m., however Governor Abercrombie’s proclamation means polling locations in Hawai’i County will now close at 7:30 p.m.

The decision stems from reports that multiple polling stations on Hawaii Island opened later than scheduled. The length of the delays varied from a few minutes in some places to more than a half hour in others, and almost an hour and a half in one location, according to the governor’s office. In his official proclamation, the governor’s said that more than half the island’s polling places opened late.

“The most important issue in this situation is to make sure that everyone who wants to vote can vote. By extending the poll hours, we are making that possible,” stated Governor Abercrombie in a media release. “I also want to thank all those who are working hard to assist at all polling stations across the state.”

Earlier today, Sherry Bracken reported on the Big Island News Center website that the State Senator serving West Hawaii,  Josh Green, “made a formal request through the State Office of Elections to honor the people of West Hawaii and their right and duty to vote by keeping the polls open in West Hawaii for two extra hours.”

It was also reported that a member of the Attorney General’s staff, Deputy Attorney General Charlene Aina, is on site at the Hilo Elections Office.

Meanwhile, reporters with Big Island Chronicle reported that  local attorney Brian DeLima, who is working on the Tulsi Gabbard campaign, met with County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi at the County Building to discuss concerns over the late Kona-side openings. DeLima was also appointed to the Hawaii Board of Education by the Abercrombie administration.

A media release from the Clerk’s office was issued earlier today, reporting that only one polling location opened late. Numerous traditional and new-media entities were left off this distribution list.

Here is the official proclamation from the Hawaii Office of the Governor:

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