A Big Island judge has made a decision on whether to delay a makeup election for nearly 7,000 voters in the Puna area of the Big Island.
The judge rejected the move to postpone the makeup Primary Election. Circuit Court Judge Greg Nakamura ruled Thursday that the election should proceed Friday.
Rep. Colleen Hanabusa filed a request for a temporary restraining order on Wednesday in a state circuit court in Hilo saying Puna residents should have more time to recover from Tropical Storm Iselle before casting ballots in a primary that includes her run for U.S. Senate.
The complaint asks Judge Greg Nakamura to stop Chief Election Officer Scott Nago from holding a postponed election for two Puna precincts on Friday. Currently, Hanabusa trails Sen. Brian Schatz by 1,635 votes.
In the motion, attorneys for Hanabusa state that "This court has the power and duty to act to prevent the disenfranchisement of voters in Hawaii" and "Postponing the election will ensure that the core rights in this democracy are safeguarded."
State elections officials plan to allow up to 6,778 registered voters to cast ballots at Keonepoko Elementary School from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. Friday, with results to be announced later that evening. Anyone in line at 6 p.m. will be allowed to vote. Election officials will also be accepting absentee ballots from voters who were unable to drop off their ballots during the Primary Election on August 9.
Hanabusa is challenging Schatz in a Democratic primary that has captured the attention of the entire state and political observers on the mainland.
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