Voting begins in Puna amidst storm damageUPDATED 8:02 AM HST Aug 15, 2014Video Transcript
After a week of heated controversy--- TODAY will be the only chance for SOME voters on the Big Island to cast their vote in the primary election. This after 2-precincts shut down last weekend due to the aftermath of Tropical Storm Iselle. KITV4's Brenton Awa is LIVE at the polling station in PUNA-- where voting begins in 30- minutes. Brenton? We're out here at Keonepoko elementary school... This is where the state primary election will finally come to a close. And with that we should find out who'll move on in the Senate race between current Senator Brian Schatz and congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa. Over 200 thousand ballots have already been cast across the state. And still, it's close... Hanabusa trails the incumbent by a mere 1,635 votes. It all comes down to Puna. Two precincts weren't able to vote because of the damage Hurricane Iselle caused. Thats the stress that a lot of people are still dealing with. some of those residents are still without power, still without water and have to drive a ways to certain aid centers just for a hot meal. That being said, there's still an election. People realize how important voting is but there's a mixed reaction when it comes to having this election today. IRWIN JOSEPH - HAWAIIAN BEACHES RESIDENT "I THINK IT'S A GOOD IDEA BECAUSE THE DAY THEY HAD THE VOTES NOBODY COULD GO OUT AND DO IT." ANNE CRILLY - PAHOA RESIDENT "OUR CITIZENS VOTE HERE IN PUNA BUT THATS NOT A PRIORITY RIGHT NOW. WE'RE TRYING TO GET SHOWERS GET OUR CHILDREN FED, WATER." Both Senator Schatz and congresswoman Hanabusa are out here in the community. Yesterday the senator was working to pass out water and ice -- the congresswoman was in Pahoa handing out hot meals and cold drinks. Hanabusa says she'll be back out at the makuu market today... again she needs 1,635 votes just to catch up with Senator Schatz. There's just under 6800 eligible voters out here that have yet to cast their ballot. So while its a longshot for the congresswoman -- things could get interesting tonight. Well be out here bringing you all the coverage throughout the day. Live in Pahoa BAWA KITV4 News.