A special “do-over” election between City Council District 4 candidates Trevor Ozawa and Tommy Waters will be held Saturday, April 13, city officials announced today.
Voters in the East Honolulu district will be mailed ballots in the weeks leading up to the decision day, said City Clerk Glen Takahashi. The only other place registered voters will be able to vote is at Honolulu Hale from April 1 until 6 p.m. on April 13.
Mailed ballots must be received before 6 p.m April 13 to be counted and Takahashi suggested voters mail them at least three days before the deadline.
A winner is expected to be announced that night, Takahashi said. He estimated the election will cost about $250,000.
Final results issued by the state Office of Elections the morning after the Nov. 6 general election showed the incumbent Ozawa winning by 22 votes over Waters, a former state representative.
Waters challenged the results alleging impropriety and, on Friday, the Hawaii Supreme Court agreed with him that votes collected by Takahashi’s Elections Division at the U.S. Post Office’s airport branch after 6 p.m. on Nov. 6 should not have been counted.
Election officials said the 350 votes in the district that were collected after 6 p.m. were commingled with other votes and could not be separated, which necessitated the new election.
Gov. David Ige issued a proclamation declaring the need for an election to be held within 120 days of Friday’s judgment.
This is just the latest (no pun intended) story where the timing of ballot arrival and pickup of mail ballots has become an issue for candidates and the courts. I’m sure that election officials across the nation who have vote-by-mail are thinking about what they need to do to ensure that all ballots are received – and thus can be legally counted – by the applicable deadline. If not, I’m guessing the specter of spending a quarter of a million dollars to re-do an election is enough to get them started on a plan to avoid a similar fate. Stay tuned …