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Election deadline nears: Host of federal, state and local races to be decided Tuesday

It’s not even Election Day and Hawaii County voters have already surpassed the voter turnout of the last presidential election.

As of Friday morning, 62% of Hawaii County registered voters had voted, compared with 58.4% who voted in the 2016 general election. Statewide, more than 484,000 had voted, a 58.2% turnout, compared to 58.4% in 2016.

And for those waiting until the last minute, there’s still time to vote until 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“It is important for voters to exercise their right to vote because that is our voice on important issues that affect our lives, our community and our nation,” county elections division administrator Pat Nakamoto said Friday. “By choosing not to vote you are giving up that right and silencing your voice.”

While some races were decided in the primary, there’s still a full slate to be revealed when polls close at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The presidential race at the top of the ticket has been consuming most of the headlines, but Hawaii County voters are also choosing their next mayor and who should represent them in Congress, deciding on 16 amendments to the county charter and picking board members for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Some voters also have County Council, state Senate and state House races to weigh in on.

It’s too late to mail your ballot back, but there are other ways to make sure it’s counted in this, the state’s first all-mail general election. You can check to see if your ballot has been received by logging in at https://ballotstatus.hawaii.gov.

Ballots can be dropped off at boxes — called “places of deposit” in the law — through Election Day. Ballots are collected daily. Drop boxes are located at the Hawaii County building in Hilo, Naalehu police station, Pahoa police station, Rodney Yano Hall in Captain Cook, Waimea police station, North Kohala police station, Laupahoehoe police station and the West Hawaii Civic Center.

Ballots can also be taken to a voter service center, where people can also register to vote, exchange spoiled ballots for fresh ones and vote in person using equipment that is physically accessible to eligible voters with disabilities and elderly voters. There are two voter service centers on the Big Island: Aupuni Center in Hilo and the West Hawaii Civic Center in Kailua-Kona, open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Election Day.

Ballot choices for the partisan races include representatives from the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Aloha Aina and American Shopping parties.

Presidential tickets include Democrats Joe Biden-Kamala Harris, Republicans Donald Trump-Michael Pence, Constitution Party candidates Don Blankenship-William Mohr, Green Party candidates Howie Hawkins-Angela Nicole Walker, Libertarian candidates Jo Jorgensen-Jeremy Cohen and American Shopping Party candidates Brock Pierce-Karla Ballard.

Six candidates are vying for the 2nd Congressional District seat vacated by Tulsi Gabbard: Republican Joe Akana, nonpartisan Ron Burrus, American Shopping Party candidate John Raghu Giuffre, Aloha Aina candidate Jonathan Hoomanawanui, Democrat Kai Kahele and Libertarian Michelle Rose Tippens.

The seat is one of only two Hawaii has in the U.S. House and represents all the neighbor islands and most of non-urban Oahu.

In the sole state Senate seat to be decided, the District 2 seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Russell Ruderman, state Rep. Joy San Buenaventura, a Democrat, faces Ron Ka-ipo, of the Aloha Aina Party.

Five of the island’s seven state House seats remain undecided. In District 1, incumbent Democrat Mark Nakashima is challenged by Republican Lorraine Pualani Shin. In District 2, incumbent Democrat Chris Todd is challenged by Devin Shaw Mcmackin Sr. of the Aloha Aina Party.

In District 3, incumbent Democrat Richard Onishi is challenged by Republican Susan Hughes. In District 4, the seat vacated by San Buenaventura to run for Senate has three contenders: Republican Hope Cermelj, Desmon Antone Haumea of the Aloha Aina Party and Democrat Greggor Ilagan.

The District 5 seat vacated by Democratic Rep. Richard Creagan also has three contenders: Citlalli Johanna Decker of the Aloha Aina Party, Democrat Jeanne Kapela and Libertarian Michael Last.

The top nonpartisan office up for election is that of mayor. After a packed primary battle, Mitch Roth and Ikaika Marzo came out as the top two vote-getters and now face off for the seat.

Two seats on the nine-member County Council are also up for grabs: In District 1, vacated by the term-limited Valerie Poindexter, voters will decide between Heather Kimball and Dominic Yagong. In District 5, incumbent Matt Kanealii-Kleinfelder is challenged by Ikaika Rodenhurst.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs Hawaii Island seat is between Keola Lindsey and Lanakila Mangauil. The Molokai seat is between Luana Alapa and Colette Machado. The at-large seat is between Keli’i Akina and Keoni Souza.

The ballot questions and fiscal impact statements for the 16 charter amendments can be found here: https://www.hawaiicounty.gov/Home/Components/News/News/2444.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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