Hawaii elections rescheduled for Friday

Greg Nash

Hawaii's elections office has scheduled in-person elections for Friday for the two precincts that hold the electoral fate of Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii).

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The two Big Island precincts had to cancel their primaries because of Hurricane Iselle. Schatz ended the Saturday primary leading Hanabusa in the rest of the islands by 1,635 votes.

Hanabusa's campaign is protesting the state elections office's decision to go ahead with in-person voting rather than mail-in votes, pointing out that many in the area are still recovering from the storm. A Hanabusa spokesman said in a statement late Monday night that the campaign "is currently reviewing all legal options at this time."

"It is disappointing that the State Office of Elections reversed course and decided to hold walk in voting on Friday. A lot of voters in those two precincts are without power and water and many of the roads are blocked with debris, isolating large pockets of the community," Hanabusa spokesman Peter Boylan said in an emailed statement.

"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. There is very limited electricity and phone service in some of these areas and it is unclear how the state will notify people that there will be a vote," he continued.

The two precincts have more than 8,000 registered voters in them but some aren't Democrats, and of those who already voted early, Schatz had an edge. That means Hanabusa will have to win approximately two thirds of the remaining vote to pull even, better than she did anywhere else on the islands, or hope to pull close and then possibly try to force a recount.

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