Oahu group asking for blank votes this election - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Oahu group asking for blank votes this election

Duke Bainum Duke Bainum
Kirk Caldwell Kirk Caldwell
Robyn Furuya Robyn Furuya
Jeff Zimmerman Jeff Zimmerman

By Paul Drewes - bio | email

MANOA (KHNL) - We have seen an increase in voter interest this election year, as well as record turnout for the party caucuses. But now, one Oahu group is encouraging residents to do something a bit different at the ballot box.

"Vote blank. Don't vote for City Council District 5."

It's a message not usually heard a month before an election, asking voters not to cast their ballot for a particular race.

But a grassroots campaign claims it will highlight problems with our election system.

"A system that was in place to protect all, didn't work," said Jeff Zimmerman, a Manoa resident.

A group of Manoa residents, are upset last minute political maneuvering led to only one choice for City Council in their district.

Duke Bainum is running unopposed and is virtually guaranteed to win. The group called "Voice for Choice" claims it does not oppose Bainum but instead the process that kept others from running against him.

"Vote blank, that is not against Duke Bainum, its against the Office of Elections and the City Clerk," said Zimmerman.

Bainum meanwhile, is pushing to increase voter turnout and interest this election.

"I too believe in choice and voting is a fundamental expression of choice. I strongly encourage everyone to vote," said Bainum.

Bainum got on the ballot at the last minute, but Representative Kirk Caldwell did not, leaving some residents upset over the election rules.

"This last minute filing wasn't fair to us," said Robyn Furuya.

So now the group is pushing people to leave the ballot blank in the City Council race.

"To make a big statement to the State and city people and to start the recall effort," said Furuya.

An effort that could mean more politics even after the general election is over.

By law, the group would have to wait at least a year after the election to start a recall effort against Duke Bainum, who hasn't even taken office at the City Council.

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