Residents report more ballot abnormalities in hotly-contested City Council race

Some special election ballots for East Honolulu's City Council seat were mailed to voters who...
Some special election ballots for East Honolulu's City Council seat were mailed to voters who no longer live in Hawaii.(Hawaii News Now)
Published: Mar. 26, 2019 at 5:59 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The special election for east Honolulu’s City Council seat is causing confusion after several ballots were mailed to people who no longer live in Hawaii.

Kahala resident Jonathan Busse said he received a ballot for his son. who now resides on the mainland.

“It was kind of surprising. This is for my son, who is 30 years old. He was born here and raised here, but he has been living in California for the last 15 years or so,” he said.

Busse said his son has voted in California in the last two presidential elections.

“I was really curious as to why this showed up first off, and then I was sort of tempted to throw it out, and then I didn’t know who to call or what to do with it. I just thought that maybe we aren’t the only people that got this,” said Busse.

Parents of other former Hawaii residents also contacted Hawaii News Now about ballots they received for the high-stakes race.

The special election is needed because the Hawaii Supreme Court invalidated November’s election results in the race between Trevor Ozawa and Tommy Waters.

According to the City Clerk’s office, in a regularly scheduled election, ballots are only sent to voters who request them. But in this special election conducted by mail, ballots were sent to all registered voters.

Rex Quidilla, Honolulu’s election administrator, said in a statement: “While these individuals may have moved, official election mail sent prior to each election are not returned to the elections office as undeliverable. As long as that occurs, a voter may not be removed pursuant to the National Voter Registration Act.”

Voters can’t be removed from the rolls just because they haven’t voted in awhile.

Another viewer who unexpectedly received a ballot wanted to remain anonymous. He moved to Waikiki from New York more than two years ago.

“I knew what it was, but I was dumbfounded by it because I’m not a registered voter so I just tore it in half and threw it in the garbage,” he said.

The Waikiki resident said he got his Hawaii drivers license last fall, but did not register to vote at that time.

Since Tuesday was a holiday, election officials were unable to find out why he received a ballot.

If voters have questions, they’re asked to call the City Clerk’s office at 768-3800 or visit the office’s website to download a voter cancellation form.

Completed ballots must be received by April 13.

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