(ABOVE) Interview conducted with Congresswoman and candidate for U.S. Senate Colleen Hanabusa at Maku’u.
Video by David Corrigan
PUNA, Hawaii – On the heels of Thursday’s court decision allowing a special election to go forward on Friday in Puna, Congresswoman and candidate for U.S. Senate Colleen Hanabusa expressed disappointment in Judge Greg Nakamura’s ruling.
We caught up with Rep. Hanabusa at Maku’u Farmers Market, where supporters of her campaign were handing out food and water to those in need within storm ravaged Puna. Hawaiian music singer Mark Yamanaka had just begun to play while we were there.
One day ago, Hanabusa filed a lawsuit against the state Office of Elections in the hopes of delaying the walk-in voting set for Keonepoko Elementary School. The state had initially declared the vote would be conducted by absentee ballot over a 21 day period.
“Due to the storm,” read Hanabusa’s complaint, “voters in the affected precincts are still without power and water and many roads are inaccessible or blocked with debris. There is still limited electricity and phone service in these areas and it is unlikely that full power will be restored or that roads will be unblocked prior to or on Friday, August 15, 2014. This will make it impossible to ensure the voters will receive adequate notice of the election, or that those that receive notice can physically access the precinct, depriving these voters of their right to vote.”
Interpreting the judge’s ruling, Hanabusa believes Nakamura did not agree with the state Office of Election’s decision to run the election on Friday, and that it “lacked common sense”. However, the judge was legally prevented from granting Hanabusa’s request.
After the ruling was issued, the campaign of U.S. Senator Brian Schatz said, “Senator Schatz continues to focus his energies on helping the people of Puna to recover, and that’s what he will do on an ongoing basis. His commitment to recovery in Puna extends beyond the election.”
The State Office of Elections also issued a media release after the decision.
The election scheduled on Friday, August 15, 2014 for the two polling places that were postponed due to Hurricane Iselle is set to continue.
Only voters who are assigned to Hawaiian Paradise Community Center (04-01) and Keonepoko Elementary School (04-02), who did not previously vote by absentee mail ballot or at an early vote site will be allowed to vote at Keonepoko Elementary School.
Polling place hours will be from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Voters in line at 6:00 p.m. will be allowed to vote. Election officials will also be accepting absentee ballots from voters who were unable to drop off their ballots during the Primary Election on August 9. Final results of the 2014 Primary Election will be released the same evening at www.hawaii.gov/elections.
For information on bus or shuttle services to Keonepoko Elementary School, contact the County Clerk of Hawaii at (808) 961-8277.State Office of Elections