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Hawaii voters to choose president, senators, representatives

  • AP PHOTO/CATHY BUSSEWITZ, FILE

    In this Oct. 6, 2016, file photo, Sen. Sam Slom, the lone Republican in the Hawaii Senate, talks about the race to hold onto his seat, outside a luncheon of the Oahu League of Republican Women at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu. Slom, who held his seat for the last 20 years, is facing a challenge from Democrat Stanley Chang.

With a polarizing presidential race, an election to replace the late U.S. Rep. Mark Takai and the possibility of an all-Democrat state Senate, Hawaii voters face difficult choices at the polls.

Many have taken advantage of early voting held on most islands over the last two weeks, and others will head to the polls Tuesday to cast their votes. Some are expressing relief that campaign season is coming to a close.

“I am really looking forward to this election cycle being over and Hillary being president” said Tamara Luthy, 30, a graduate student at University of Hawaii, who voted early for Democrat Hillary Clinton on Oct. 31 in Honolulu. “Unfortunately, this election cycle has played like a reality TV show, and I think that there are really serious repercussions for whoever gets elected to be our president.”

Even though Democrats outnumbered Republicans 2-to-1 in Hawaii’s last presidential election, voters are still divided between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.

“I voted against Hillary. I don’t trust her,” said Al Coleman, 57, an IT professional who lives in Waikiki and cast his vote for Trump in early voting in Honolulu.

In other races, former U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, a Democrat, is hoping to return to her old seat in Congress, which she gave up to run for Senate two years ago. She’s running in against Republican Shirlene Ostrov and others in Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District, where voters are deciding who will replace the late U.S. Rep. Mark Takai, who died in July.

There’s a chance voters could send two different candidates to fill Takai’s former seat, to serve different periods of time. The double election includes candidates for the two-month assignment to finish Takai’s term and candidates to serve for two years starting in January.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz is also hoping to return to his seat, and facing a challenge from Republican John Carroll and others.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is also running for re-election, facing challenger Angea Aulani Kaaihue, who’s running in that race as a Republican. But Kaaihue is also running as a Democrat against Hanabusa and others in the special election to serve the rest of Takai’s term.

The lone Republican state senator, Sam Slom, who held his seat for the last 20 years, is facing a challenge from Democrat Stanley Chang.

“He does a good job of riling up the Republican base in a way that no one else has been able to do,” said Republican state Rep. Beth Fukumoto Chang, minority leader of the Hawaii House, about Slom. “I don’t know what happens if we don’t have that.”

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  • Hawaii’s past and present governor and state legislature have done nothing to make Hawaii’s people votes be a part of the presidential election. Hawaii’s votes are basically meaningless. When it’s 6PM in Hawaii, it’s midnight in Washington. Hawaii is six hours behind Eastern time. By the time Hawaii’s polls close, presidents often have been declared. When it comes to national politics, Hawaii feels detached. The ConUS and Hawaii are like “apple and pineapples.” The people of the state feels like an after thought. That’s why Hawaii had the lowest voter turnout rate in the United States in 2008 and probably the same will happen this year. Here’s my suggestion to the solution for Hawaii’s votes to have an impact on the presidential election that takes place every 4 years. The state legislature should change the voting day to Monday, the day before the national general election day. Hawaii’s legislature needs to be more innovated and change Hawaii’s presidential election day to Monday so that Hawaii would be part of the counted votes before the president is declared. Enough said.

    • Sadly it is only 5 hours. Daylight savings ended a couple of days ago. 🙂

      Not sure if anything colud change Hawaii being part of the presidential election. We are a small state with only 4 electoral votes and I can only remember one election when it was close and Hawaii might be relevant.

      Fortunately this election should be easily won by Hillary Clinton, the obviously better candidate. I mean the Donald is just too extreme. He breaks with tradition, his choice for VP is a washed up governor, and he would make GW look smart.

    • I’m sorry. I’m having a bit of trouble parsing your statement. Are you advocating that Hawaii’s “past and present governor and state legislature ” ought to have changed our mid-Pacific time zone so that we complete voting before the Eastern zone states? I suppose it’s not impossible since time zones only came about in the 19th century with the transcontinental railroad and derive from the Prime Meridian which was necessary in the 18th century for the Royal Navy to navigate. (there was quite an argument between Britain and France over where Time should start.) I for one though don’t relish the idea of going to bed at what is now 1700 and getting up about 0100 in the morning. Nope, I don’t think that idea is going to fly.

      Oh, I see, change election day to Monday. Can you imagine the “arms-race” that would set off among the States? I can see Idaho, for example, voting to move the International Date Line a little east of Twin Falls.

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