East Hawaii News

Special Election in Storm-Affected Puna Will Name US Senator

August 11, 2014, 4:37 PM HST
* Updated August 12, 5:56 PM
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Chief Election Officer Scott Nago announced today that an election will be held on Friday, Aug. 15 at Keonepoko Elementary School for the two polling places whose election was postponed due to Hurricane Iselle.

Only voters who are assigned to Hawaiian Paradise Community Center (04-01) and Keoneopoko Elementary School (04-02), who did not previously vote by absentee mail ballot or at an early vote site will be allowed to vote in the special election.

Polling place hours will be from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Voters in line at 6 p.m. will be allowed to vote. Final results of the 2014 Primary Election will be released the same evening.

The votes could make a difference in the US Senate race where just 300 votes separate Brain Schatz from Colleen Hanabusa in the Democratic primary on the Big Island (statewide, the difference is 1,635 votes).

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that there are an estimated 8,255 voters who are registered in the two precincts.

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On primary election night, the two contenders were neck-and-neck with as little as 11 votes separating the two when the third printout was issued just before 9 p.m. At that point, Hanabusa was in the lead, but Schatz moved ahead in each of three subsequent printouts released on Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

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The last printout issued by the State Office of Election at 3:15 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 10 shows Brian Schatz with 113,800 (48.5%) votes, ahead of challenger Colleen Hanabusa who had 112,165 (47.8%) votes.

Initially, elections officials had discussed a possible mail-in solution, but decided to hold a special election instead to meet a legal deadline to get the ballots out to voters and counted in a timely manner.

The decision to hold the special election was made by Chief Election Officer Scott Nago, in consultation with the State Attorney General, Department of Defense and the Office of the County Clerk.

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