East Hawaii News

Inouye Not Ready To Concede District 4 Senate Race

August 13, 2012, 6:40 PM HST
* Updated August 13, 6:45 PM
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One of the losing candidates in Saturday’s primary election said Sunday she will have legal counsel look into the voting in her district.

According to the final election returns, former state Sen. Lorraine Inouye lost the Democratic Party race in Senate District 4 to incumbent Sen. Malama Solomon by 69 votes.

Inouye said today she is considering requesting a recount due to the closeness of the race, and because of changes in the final vote tally early Sunday morning and reports of ballots “floating around.”

Inouye said she was told that after the 10:49 printout was issued by the state elections office which showed all 13 precincts in the district reporting, two trucks arrived in Hilo with votes from Waimea polling places.

Inouye said late this afternoon that she has been unable to get in contact with County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi. Inouye said she wants to know whether Kawauchi’s office has done a manual recount, which Inouye said is required by law.

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She has talked with the state’s chief election officer, Scott Nago, but has been unable to get answers to her questions.

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“It’s scary,” she said. “I may not prevail [in the election], but at least we can prevent this in the future.”

Asked about the difference between the 10:49 p.m. and 3:12 a.m. election printouts, state elections spokesman Rex Quidilla said the latter included some absentee ballots that had not yet been counted. It also had some provisional ballots which voters cast while elections officials resolve questions about eligibility or voting locations.

In Senate District 4, the difference between the two printouts was 413 votes, with Inouye actually narrowing Solomon’s lead by nine votes in the later tally.

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Inouye, a former state senator and Big Island mayor, said she has until next Monday to file a complaint with the state Supreme Court.

The winner of the race will face Green Party candidate Kelly Greenwell in the Nov. 6 general election.

The final printout added votes to both contenders in an even closer race, that for the Democratic candidate in state House District 6, but kept the margin the same.

Nicole Lowen went from 1,025 votes in the earlier results to 1,067 in the final printout. However, she maintained her 45-vote edge over Kalei Akaka, whose vote tally rose from 980 to 1,022.

Lowen will face Republican winner Roy Ebert in the general election.

But the closest race of all was for Hawai`i County prosecutor, where Lincoln Ashida received 49.98% of the vote. That was 10 votes shy of the 50% plus one vote needed to win the nonpartisan race outright.

Ashida, currently the county’s corporation counsel, will meet Deputy Prosecutor Mitch Roth in a run-off in November. Roth finished with 32.6% of the vote while the third candidate, Ka`u attorney Paul Dolan, ended up with 17.3%.

Ashida said he will not contest Saturday’s outcome, saying he is looking forward to “carrying this momentum into the general.”

(See here for the state’s final election tally.)

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