Hanabusa to sue to delay makeup voting

Greg Nash

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) plans to file a lawsuit to delay a scheduled Friday vote in two precincts that were prevented from casting a ballot in the Senate primary last week because of a tropical storm. 

She said she would urge the state Supreme Court to postpone the vote because some in those two precincts still do not have running water or electricity. 

"Fundamentally, what we are trying to preserve here is the people's right to vote and making sure that people know that their vote counts," she told Hawaii News Now

Hanabusa trails Sen. Brian Schatz by a little more than 1,600 votes after last week’s election. Observers have said it would be an uphill climb for her to retake the lead, since she would need nearly two-thirds of the estimated 8,000 votes in those precincts. 

Her campaign is upset that the election office is holding in-person voting rather than absentee voting, which it had signaled a preference for earlier. 

"It is unrealistic to think people struggling to find basic necessities and get out of their homes will have the ability to go to the polls Friday," spokesman Peter Boylan said in an email Tuesday.  

The Schatz campaign told the Star Advertiser that elections officials in the state are in the best position to gauge how to proceed.

Hanabusa, however, expressed concern that others outside those two precincts who were prevented from voting due to the storm would not have another opportunity to cast a ballot. She said elections officials "made the decision based on whether or not the polling places were acceptable and that cannot be the basis of disparate treatment."

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