LIHU‘E — An unexpected level of election day voting led to final results being late on arrival. By press time on Wednesday, which is the day final results were expected to be released, they were still pending.
Election Administrator Lyndon Yoshioka reported his team had been working through Tuesday night handling 6,000 drop box ballots that arrived on Election Day. In addition, Yoshioka said there were 800 in-person voters, as lines stretched to the steps of the historic county building on Tuesday night.
An updated tally released at around 10 p.m. Tuesday did not show significant changes from the first round of results.
The top seven Kaua‘i County Council candidates were unchanged, with incumbent Luke Evslin (9,503 votes, 7.7 percent), incumbent Bernard Carvalho (9,082, 7.3 percent), Dr. Addison Bulosan (8,221, 6.6 percent), former council member Mel Rapozo (8,181, 6.6 percent), incumbent KipuKai Kuali‘i (7,978, 6.4 percent) former council member Ross Kagawa (7,493, 6.3 percent), and incumbent Felicia Cowden (7,331, 5.9 percent) most likely to take the seven available seats.
On the outside looking in was incumbent council member Billy DeCosta (7,054, 5.7 percent), who joined the council in 2020. In the primary, the preliminary results showed DeCosta leading before Cowden overtook him on the later count.
Bulosan passed Rapozo in the second printout, and now sits in third place. A first-time council member, he said his first priority would be housing, pushing for a 2 percent allocation for affordable housing and an increase in the tax rate on vacation rentals.
Next up were Fern Anuenue Holland (5,941, 4.8 percent), Lila Balmores Metzger (3,307, 2.7 percent), Rachel Secretario (3,138 2.5 percent), Shirley Simbre-Medeiros (2,828, 2.3 percent), Roy Saito (1,865, 1.5 percent) and Nelson Mukai (1,848, 1.5 percent).
In the mayoral race, the second printout confirmed that incumbent Derek Kawakami soundly defeated Roven Michael Poai.
“I ran a clean campaign,” said Poai. “I gave it a good run.”
Poai, a longtime county employee, took home 20 percent of the vote compared with Kawakami’s 75 percent, a big jump from the 11 percent he received in the primary.
Poai said he would consider either running again in four years or throwing his weight behind another mayoral candidate.
The status quo held in statehouse races, with incumbent state Reps. Jimmy Tokioka (D-16), Nadine Nakamura (D-15) and Dee Morikawa (D-17) and state Sen. Ron Kouchi (D-8) each pulling in more than 65 percent of the vote against Republican challengers in the second printout.
Statehouse candidates Ana Mo Des, Greg Bentley, Steve Yoder and Michael Wilson all grabbed approximately 20 percent of the vote, in line with Republican statehouse candidates from 2020.
In the second printout, Kaua‘i seems poised to approve three of the four charter amendments put before them.
Most popular, by far, was the amendment related to the prosecutor vacancy, which earned 80 percent support.
The charter currently requires a special election in the event of a prosecutor’s resignation. This occurred last year, when the unexpected retirement of Prosecutor Justin Kollar triggered an election at a cost of nearly $500,000. The change will ensure that prosecutor elections occur at the same time as regularly scheduled elections.
Less popular, but still set to pass is the amendment which would give the salary commission authority to set maximum salaries for elected and appointed officials. Currently, salary commission resolutions must be approved by county council, creating an awkward situation in which members vote on their own raises. This year, the council voted to approve a resolution
The measure has 50.7 percent support, compared with 33 percent opposition.
Voters also supported a motion amending the charter to forbid the county council from creating an electric power corporation, with 44 percent support and 38 percent opposed. Salary commission officials said with the success of the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative, this power was unnecessary.
Finally, voters are not favoring a technical measure that would remove a requirement of surety bonds for certain officers and employees (40 percent opposed, 37 percent favored). The salary commission hoped the measure could increase flexibility in the county finance department.
Source: The Garden Island