Judge Rules Puna Voting Will Proceed on Friday

With U.S. Senate race hanging in balance, candidate Colleen Hanabusa had sought a delay in voting for the storm-damaged region on the Big Island.

·By Nick Grube

HILO, HAWAII — The state primary election will conclude Friday as planned, a Hawaii court ruled Thursday

Circuit Court Judge Greg Nakamura in Hilo rejected a motion to postpone the election from U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who trails U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz by 1,635 votes out of roughly 230,000 ballots cast in last Saturday’s Democratic primary.

In her motion, Hanabusa said the Puna voting should be delayed until power is restored, roadblocks are removed and proper notification is given to voters in the two affected precincts that couldn’t vote last Saturday due to Tropical Storm Iselle.

Nakamura said while the situation may seem unfair, there’s no legal justification to delay the election.

Circuit Court Judge Greg Nakamura said the public might not think Friday’s election is fair due to ongoing fallout from Tropical Storm Iselle.

Hollyn Johnson-Hawaii Tribune Hearald/Pool

“You could take a popular poll now and the poll would indicate that there’s some lack of common sense to hold the election tomorrow in light of the natural disaster caused by Iselle,” Nakamura said.

He added that he expects there to a post-election challenge from whoever loses in the end. In all likelihood, that challenge will come from Hanabusa.

The congresswoman did not attend Thursday’s hearing, although her spokesman, Peter Boylan, was in the audience. Boylan did not want to comment after Nakamura’s ruling.

However, Boylan later released this statement: “We are extremely disappointed for the people of Puna, especially since Judge Nakamura said that holding this

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