Newly drawn voting districts and a miscalculation that only 25% more people would vote in a presidential race than the primary contributed to the error, Quidilla said.
There are some obvious solutions here, including bumping up the number of ballots polling places have on hand, as well as investigating what went wrong with backup plans. Quidilla said ballots or electronic voting machines were provided so that everyone who wanted to could still participate in the election, but one polling place, he said, stayed open two hours and 45 minutes late to accommodate people.
"Election Day is not a surprise. It does not sneak up on us," said Boyle, from Common Cause. "You don't wake up one day and say, 'Hey, today we all vote!' It's as simple as better planning."
Better technology could also go a long way. As Boyle pointed out, it's impossible in 2012 to expect millions of voters to all go to the polls within a 24-hour period. States, including Hawaii, should do more to encourage early walk-in voting and, eventually, electronic voting. People in New Jersey who were displaced by Superstorm Sandy were allowed this year to vote by e-mail. That may not be ready for prime time nationwide, but we should start investigating those options in a serious way.
Finally, a smarter -- or "modern," as Boyle put it -- voter registration system also wouldn't hurt. People in every state should be able to register to vote online, and a national system could make registration automatic when you sign up for other services.
A nagging issue in Hawaii, though, still seems to be a lack of confidence in and respect for voters. If the state doesn't provide enough ballots, why would someone stand in line?