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City clerk has no details yet on special Council election rematch

  • BRUCE ASATO / Jan. 15, 2019

    Tommy Waters approaches Trevor Ozawa following a Jan. 15 state Supreme Court hearing in which justices heard arguments over Waters bid to invalidate Ozawa’s 22-vote November victory for the City Council seat for East Oahu. The justices ruled in Waters’ favor Friday, which will lead to a special election.

East Honolulu voters will need to wait a few days to learn when and how they’ll vote in their City Council member, City Clerk Glen Takahashi said in a statement today.

The Hawaii Supreme Court on Friday invalidated the results of the November special election that showed incumbent Trevor Ozawa beating challenger Tommy Waters by 22 votes. Waters challenged the results citing potential impropriety.

The invalidation triggers a “do-over” vote — likely between only Ozawa and Waters. Although neither the court ruling nor the clerk’s office have made it entirely clear if the election would be limited to a rematch between Ozawa and Waters or be open to others who may want to run, both specified that the second special election was invalidated and did not reference the first special election in August with five candidates. Ozawa and Waters were the only two candidates on the second special election ballot in November.

Takahashi said his office, whose Elections Division is tasked with conducting absentee votes and special elections dealing with Oahu offices, should have a full explanation “within the next day or two.”

“We are presently working with the City Council and the governor to recommend a timetable for their consideration,” Takahashi said. “There are various federal, state and city election laws and processes that govern how we move forward. There are issues including, but not limited to procurement, compliance with military and overseas voter laws, as well as general production logistics that need to be considered to successfully carry out the special election in most efficient manner possible.”

Takahashi apologized to the public for the inconvenience and thanked them for their patience. “I believe we all have the same goal and that is to expedite this election so the people of Council District IV will have full representation on the Honolulu City Council.“

Council Chairwoman Ann Kobayashi said Friday that the eight certified members will likely meet next week to pick a temporary District 4 representative, someone who is not running for the permanent seat.

The last time a special election was held for a Council seat outside of the regular state primary and general election season was in December 2010 after Todd Apo resigned to to join a private business.

The clerk’s office conducted an “all-mail” election where voters were mailed ballots to be returned via mail. It offered an option for voters to cast ballots in person at Honolulu Hale and Kapolei Hale.Tom Berg emerged as the winner over 13 other candidates to fill the last two years of Apo’s term.

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