Hawaiiâ€™s Election Official Says He Was Too Busy To Register To Vote
It was bad enough that Kevin Cronin, Hawaiiâ€™s Chief Election Official, failed to register to vote for five months. It was part of the job qualification, but more importantly, he is supposed to set an example. By neglecting to register, he dismisses this important act as less important than his other duties. His excuse? Essentially, it is the time-old and worn-out, â€œI was too busy.â€Â
Cronin claims to have worked six to seven days a week putting in a new voting system, preparing for the upcoming election and performing his other office duties. That is commendable. Yet that is no excuse for failing to perform the primary responsibility of every citizenâ€“registering to vote. Cronin should have registered to vote once he moved from Wisconsin and before he assumed any responsibility at his new position.Â
Cronin only registered after the media picked up the possibility he was not registered. When that happened, Cronin immediately found the five minutes to register.Â
Here is Croninâ€™s explanation in his own words:
Until I registered to vote, I served as what the law calls a â€œde factoâ€ official. A â€œde factoâ€ official is one who in good faith may perform the duties of office without jeopardy to any decisions made. No one informed me otherwise. There is no question I was a citizen of the United States, older than 18 and a resident of Hawaii. All of that paperwork had been completed.
What remained to remove the â€œde factoâ€ status was to complete an application to become a registered voter in Hawaii. Unfortunately, this was one of several personal items which remained on my to-do list and that working 6-7 days a week kept getting moved to the next day as I worried about getting a voting machine system secured for the state and to begin election preparations in what is expected to bring to the polls an unusually large number of voters. When the caller/reporter asked about my status, I left the office immediately to go to Honolulu Hale to register to vote.
To experience the attention and anger among many people over my voter registration status surprised me, especially when our beautiful state has so many more compelling issues like education, health care, and transportation, among others.
Instead of seeking excuses, Cronin would better serve his predicament by apologizing. A hard-working public servant is what everyone wants. However, to hide behind â€œde facto statusâ€ and â€œmore compelling issuesâ€ is to shirk responsibility for what is a foolish neglect of his responsibility as a public official and American citizen. A simple, contrite apology might save his job if he really is as hard working as he claims.
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