HI Senate results could be released after 7 p.m. Friday

HI Senate results could be released after 7 p.m. Friday

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - If a state judge denies U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa's request to a state judge to delay Friday's makeup election for two polling places in Puna, the results could be tabulated and released by as early as 7:15 p.m. Friday.

The two remaining Puna polling places where voting was delayed because of Tropical Storm Iselle will be consolidated into one Friday at Keonepoko Elementary School, which will be closed for school that day because of the Statehood Day holiday. The other polling place, at Hawaiian Paradise Community Center, will not be open for voting.

The state said the voting site will be open for voting from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. at night Friday.

No paper ballots will be used at Keonepoko , said Rex Quidilla, a spokesman for the state Office of Elections. Instead there will be 16 electronic voting machines. The school has power and the voting machines have battery-backup if there's any problem with electricity, Quidilla said.

According to Pat Nakamoto, the elections administrator for Hawaii County, 1,487 residents in those two precincts already voted early by mail and at walk-in sites before the election, so they will not be allowed to vote a second time Friday at Keonepoko Elementary.

That leaves 6,782 of the remaining registered voters in those two communities eligible to vote that day. A total of 8,269 people are registered to vote in the two precincts.

Area residents Hawaii News Now spoke to Wednesday said they will vote on Friday.

Aulani Kailoa Green, who was raised in Hilo but now lives in the Puna area, said, "They feel that Friday would be a better idea so I feel like the government knows what's right and we don't. If they want to vote, people are going to come out and vote. It's all about our future, so it's up to people to come out and vote on Friday."

Joan Morse, who lives in Pahoa, said "I think they're choosing the right road. It's wonderful to go and vote, instead of waiting for people to send back mailers, I think it's very efficient to do that."

But others whose homes were ravaged by Tropical Storm Iselle have said they will still be cleaning up the damage and may not be able to take time to vote just a week after the storm struck.

Once the voting is completed sometime after 6 p.m. Friday, the computer cards with the results will be driven from the Puna polling place to the counting center at the state building in Hilo to be counted, a trip that will take around 45 minutes.

Those results will be transmitted electronically to the election center at the State Capitol for release in the first printout that could come as early as 7:15 or 7:30 p.m. Friday. The bulk of the votes in the postponed election will be contained in that first printout.

A second and final printout, composed of any absentee mail-in ballots that people bring in to the polling place in person Friday, will be released later Friday night, Quidilla said.

Nakamoto said the county will send home flyers with students in Puna-area public schools Thursday announcing the postponed election as well as county shuttle service from seven locations to the polling place Friday.

Hanabusa trails U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz by 1,635 votes in the race for the remainder of the term of the late U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye. In the other two Puna precincts where voting went ahead last Saturday, Schatz garnered about 10 percent more of the vote than Hanabusa.

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