Losing primary candidate to file voting complaint

JoAnne Georgi, who lost in the Republican primary race for House District 16 on primary election night, plans to file a complaint with the Hawai’i Supreme Court contending a voter irregularity.

Georgi said if her charge can be proven she wants a recount of the election results.

Jose M. Felix-Keamoai, a resident of Hanapepe, beat her by 354 vote to 317 votes. The race had 423 blank votes.

Felix-Keamoai is to face incumbent state House Rep. Bertha Kawakami, a Democrat and resident of Hanapepe, in the Nov. 5 general election.

Georgi said a friend, Kit Ellison, voted for her even though her friend lives in Kapa’a, which is part of House District 15.

House District 15 encompasses Wailua, Lihu’e, Lawa’i and Koloa, while District 16 consists of Po’ipu, West Kaua’i and Ni’ihau.

Georgi said the single case of voting irregularity might be more common than thought, and if that is the case, the voter count for all the Kaua’i elections might be flawed and inaccurate.

An official with the county’s elections division office said Georgi’s contention is “only an allegation.”

The voting machines, the official said, were tested by election observers from various political parties before they were shipped to voting places.

To guard against the case Georgi cited, each voting machine is programmed to accept only ballots for a particular precinct, the official said.

Additionally, separate sets of serial numbers are used within each precinct area, and they are distinct from other precinct areas, the official said. Plus, different ballot types are assigned to each of the three house representative districts, preventing the type of occurrence Georgi claims happened, the official said.

The official said he has not received any other election poll complaints like Georgi’s since the primary election was held Saturday.

Under federal law, Georgi has six days from the date of the primary election to file a challenge of the election results.

Georgi also will submit a copy of the challenge to Dwayne D. Yoshina, the chief election officer with the state Office of Elections.

Georgi said she began feeling “something was wrong with the election” after speaking with Ellison, who said she voted at her assigned precinct at the Kapa’a Elementary School.

“I got my ballot, I was allowed to vote for JoAnne. I thought it was great because I work with her,” said Ellison. The two are both employed by Embassy Vacation Resort.

Ellison said Becky Rogers, a daughter who lives with her, told her of another case of voting irregularity.

“She and I were talking, and they (people manning the polls) registered him (Ellison’s husband) after he voted,” Ellison said. “It is not supposed to happen. Sometimes crazy things happen.”

Staff Writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at mailto:mailto:pcurtis@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 224).

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