Hawaii voters head to the polls Saturday to decide who will get their party nominations and advance to the general election in congressional and local races. Here are some key things to know about the state’s primary:
Little drama is expected in the U.S. Senate race as incumbent Brian Schatz seeks his first full term. He was appointed to replace the late Sen. Daniel Inouye in 2012 and won a special election in 2014 to serve out the remainder of the term.
For the U.S. House, former Rep. Colleen Hanabusa is attempting to win back the seat she gave up to challenge Schatz in the 2014 special election. Her old seat opened up when Rep. Mark Takai, D-Hawaii, died last month.
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat who holds Hawaii’s other House seat, also faces a primary challenge.
• Hawaii on pace for record low voter turnout
• Early, absentee voting on Oahu mixed
There might be some confusion about one U.S. House race.
After Takai’s death, election officials set the date to elect a new representative at the November election, not Saturday’s primary, because state law requires 60 days’ notice for an election.
Instead, primary voters will advance candidates from each party to the general election. The winner will serve a two-year term.
Also on the November ballot will be a special election to choose someone to serve out the last two months of Takai’s unexpired term.
That means in the general election, two people could be elected to that seat — one to serve two months and another to take office in January. Of course, the same person could win both and get a jumpstart on some seniority in the next Congress.
Don’t expect much turnover in the Hawaii Legislature. There are 16 uncontested races in the state Senate and House, and all but one of the unopposed candidates are Democrats.
The lone Republican state senator, Sam Slom, was unopposed but will face a stiff challenge in November in a sole bid to keep the chamber from falling to one-party domination.
WHEN AND WHERE TO VOTE
Polls across the state opened at 7 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. Voters must go to their assigned polling place, which they can find on the state elections office website, elections.hawaii.gov.
Residents also were given the opportunity to vote before Aug. 11, either by mail or at walk-in locations.
The Hawaii Office of Elections does not project voter turnout. But if the numbers of voters in the 2012 and 2014 primary elections hold true, about 40 percent of the state’s registered voters will cast ballots in the contest.