Mayor Peter Carlisle and City Council Chairman Nestor Garcia are urging eligible voters in West Oahu to find and return their ballots for the special election in City Council District 1.
As of yesterday about 21 percent (9,977) of the roughly 47,000 ballots mailed to voters this month had been returned, according to the City Clerk’s office.
That is well below the 41 percent and 45 percent return rate for mail-in special elections held last year in District 3 (Kaneohe-Kailua-Waimanalo) and District 5 (Palolo-Makiki), respectively.
The return rates after the first week in those elections was 33 percent and 29 percent, respectively, the city said.
"While we want people to enjoy the holiday season, for those who live in District 1, there is that civic responsibility to do what they can to participate," Garcia said. "The Council member who represents District 1 represents perhaps the most dynamic district in the city and county with all that is going on there."
Thirteen candidates are seeking to fill the last two years on the term vacated by Todd Apo, who resigned in November to take a job with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
Ballots were mailed Dec. 6 and are due to the City Clerk’s office by 6 p.m. Wednesday, when results are to be announced.
Garcia noted the Leeward Coast-Ewa district is the site of the city’s two landfills, the University of Hawaii-West Oahu campus, the soon-to-open Disney Aulani Resort as well as the starting point for the city’s rail transit system.
"With all of that, I think the decision to have someone that will follow through with what the district would like to see in his or her Council member is very important," Garcia said. "That’s why we’d like very much for them to cast their ballot."
In a news release, Carlisle added, "We recognize that it’s the holiday season and this time of the year can be very busy for many people. At the same time, we also encourage the people of District 1 to participate in the election process."
The 13 candidates running are Tom Berg, Kioni Dudley, Jason T. Espero, Mel Kahele, Celeste (Lacaden) Lacuesta, Chris Lewis, Matthew LoPresti, James K. Manaku, Rose Martinez, Bob McDermott, John P. Roco, Gary Kahinano Velleses and Victoria (Cissy) Yuen.