Lorraine Rodero Inouye says she is considering filing a formal challenge to Saturday’s election results. After the final calculation was done, Inouye lost her bid for State Senate Seat 4 (Waimea, Kohala) to incumbent Senator Malama Solomon by only 69 votes, 4068 to 3999.
Inouye said Sunday morning she’s taking the action because of reports that many Hawaii Island precincts did not open for voting on time, and turned voters away. Saturday morning, County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi was only acknowledging one opening late, due to “equipment problems,” when there were more than five in West Hawaii alone known to have opened up to 90 or more minutes late. Saturday evening, in an interview with Keoki Kerr on Hawaii News Now, Elections Chief Scott Nago said he believes more than half of the Hawaii Island precincts opened late.
Inouye’s concern is that people who may have voted for her, could not. Although State Senator Josh Green prevailed upon State Elections, the Attorney General, and the Governor to leave Hawaii Island polls open late, the Governor’s proclamation did not come until mid-afternoon. The question is how many voters knew of the extended hours, and whether they actually returned.
Inouye said she’s still gathering information about the proper procedure for filing a protest to ask for either a recount or a revote. She said she had one of her team go to the Hawaii County Elections Office Saturday night to find out which precincts opened late, and about the formal procedure to file, but County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi had barred candidates and the public, as well as media, from entering the County building. She also said she will be informing State Elections Chief Scott Nago via email of her intent to possibly file a protest.
There were some other close races that may also end up in protests. And Hilo attorney Brian DeLima on Saturday stated his intent to file a protest on behalf of the Tulsi Gabbard campaign. Although Gabbard ultimately won her bid on the Democratic ticket for U. S. Congress, DeLima was at the County Building early Saturday morning talking to County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi and indicated he would file based on proper election procedure not having been followed.