Group urges voters to leave ballots blank in unopposed council race - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Group urges voters to leave ballots blank in unopposed council race

Chris Nakamatsu Chris Nakamatsu
Duke Bainum Duke Bainum
George Waialeale George Waialeale

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Frustration from voters after a city council race is uncontested. They say an incumbent's last minute decision to not run for re-election prevented other candidates from contention.

Ann Kobayashi filled Honolulu City Council's District Five seat until she decided to run for mayor close to the filing deadline, opening the door for a new face to fill the position.

While we already know who will win, a group is asking voters to stay silent.

He's unopposed but Duke Bainum, candidate for Honolulu City Council's District Five seat wants to show he cares. There were the usual supporters and signs, but things got scary.

"I'm in mourning for the lack of American process of what happened by leaving the Manoa people with no choice," said Honolulu Resident Chris Nakamatsu.

This is no trick or treat. Citizens are angry, they say other candidates weren't given the chance to contest Bainum thanks to Ann Kobayashi's last minute decision to run for mayor. They're now booing Bainum.

"One was disqualified and one dropped out so indeed they had a choice. In fact, I find it kind of odd one of the people down there is the one that dropped out," said Candidate Duke Bainum.

George Waialeale says he dropped out because he didn't want to oppose Kirk Caldwell who was later disqualifed. Some are trying to tap voters to blank Bainum on their ballots.

"If there's a large percentage of voters that do vote blank it's going to send a message to Duke, it's going to spook Duke," said Former Candidate George Waialeale.

But Duke isn't spooked.

"You would certainly hope that they would give me the chance to get in the job and do the job before they judge me," said Bainum.

Votes or no vote, Bainum is still the winner. But, it's a race that a community hopes uncovers flaws in the election process.

Bainum says he agrees that the process needs improvement and he's being proactive about it. He's already looking at how to prevent the problem in the future. Meanwhile, others say that a huge blank vote turnout for Bainum may give them fuel to start a recall petition for him in a year.

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