Video by David Corrigan and Baron Sekiya, | Voice of Stephanie Salazar

Yagong says "no comment" on elections matters, from now on

HILO, Hawaii: Hawaii County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi issued a press release yesterday, following questions from media concerning the reason why she did not attend the September 10 elections training on Kauai.

Kawauchi says she had already been scheduled to meet with Hawaii Island precinct officials on that same date to discuss the issues and concerns presented by the primary election, and to prepare for the November 6, 2012 general election.

Kawauchi says the State Office of Elections was notified of the scheduling conflict, and that the deputy clerk attended in her place.

In the release, Kawauchi epressed gratitude towards the State Office of Elections and the other counties, and also complimented the commitment of the county’s precinct officials.

Meanwhile, County Council Chair Dominic Yagong says he is trying to take a hands off approach to the elections process. That includes no comment on elections related questions.

Yagong declined to offer media comment on elections related matters during this interview in his office a few days ago. The new policy is a departure from past behavior by Yagong, who has not shied away from speaking out in the past.

As Chair of the council, Yagong is effectively the head of the legislative branch, which includes the clerk’s office and the elections division. But Yagong cites a recent complaint before the County Ethics Board for the change of heart.

The back and forth Yagong had with Chairman John Dill over his alleged conflict of interest made headlines of their own.

In an attempt to cut through all the controversy, Kona’s county councilmember Angel Pilago hopes to pass a resolution urging the state to take a stronger roll in the event of another Big Island election snafu in November.

The council meets again next week.