You're not seeing double: Some must vote twice for U.S. House race

You're not seeing double: Some must vote twice for U.S. House race

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Despite advanced warning and now a new television ad, some voters are still surprised by what they're seeing on the general election ballot.

It's the U.S. House race for the 1st Congressional district that's causing the confusion.

Voters are being asked to make their pick, and then make their pick again in a special election.

The special election was needed to fill the remainder of U.S. Rep. Mark Takai's term. Takai, 49, died in July after a months-long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Candidate Colleen Hanabusa's name and the names of some others vying for the seat are listed twice on the ballot, once for the general election and once for the special election.

A new 30-second spot stumps for Hanabusa, but is also aimed at clearing up confusion that voters may experience when they see the ballot.

"Yes, it is a problem because people look at this and say you're not supposed to vote twice," she said.

Walk-in voters at Honolulu Hale on Thursday said they were surprised at seeing two elections on one ballot, but they figured it out.

"I wasn't prepared for it," voter Gordon Noice said. "But after reading it, it seemed pretty clear one was for the general and one was for the vacancy slot."

Voter Iwalani Isbell, meanwhile, said that she knew what to expect.

"I came in here and I did my homework, so it didn't phase me at all," she said.

Hanabusa thinks election officials should have used a separate ballot for the special election or done a mail-in vote. "That would have made things a lot cleaner and simpler," she said.

But elections officials said that wouldn't have been ideal.

"The most feasible time that we could hold the special election is with the general election," said state Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago. "Two separate ballots is an issue. People might not see it. They might not get the second ballot."

Since walk-in voting began Tuesday at Honolulu Hale and Kapolei Hale, more than 4,500 people have cast their ballots.

City Election Administrator Chad Kadota said he hasn't heard about anyone confused with the ballots. "I haven't heard of anything. It seems to be understood," he said.

Hanabusa wants to make sure that it is.

"The problem that a lot of people are expressing is that, 'I saw these names before so it must be some kind of misprint.' But no. It is vote twice," she said.

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