Be a prepared voter Saturday

With early voting already underway and the county of Kaua‘i’s Primary Election just around the corner, candidates for the elective offices of mayor, County Council prosecuting attorney, U.S. representative, state senator, state representative and school district have their campaigns in full swing.

The Election Division of the Office of the County Clerk opened its doors to walk-in voters on Sept. 6, and will be open through Thursday, with the exception of today. To qualify, voters must simply have already registered for the primary and bring a picture ID to the basement of the Historic County Building annex between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Those among the 38,000-plus registered voters who opted against early voting or mailing in an absentee ballot — today is the deadline to request absentee mail ballots — will have the chance to cast their votes in the primary on Saturday, Sept. 20, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. at their local polling location:

• District 1401, Hanalei Elementary School cafeteria

• District 1402, Kilauea Elementary School cafeteria

• District 1403, Anahola Hawaiian Homes Clubhouse

• District 1404, Kapa‘a Elementary School cafeteria

• District 1405, Kapa‘a Neighborhood Center

• District 1501, Kapa‘a Middle School cafeteria

• District 1502, King Kaumuali‘i Elementary School cafeteria

• District 1503, Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall

• District 1504, Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School cafeteria

• District 1505, Koloa Neighborhood Center

• District 1601, Koloa Elementary School cafeteria

• District 1602, Kalaheo Neighborhood Center

• District 1603, Hanapepe Recreation Center

• District 1604, Kaumakani Neighborhood Center

• District 1605, Waimea Neighborhood Center

• District 1606, Kekaha Neighborhood Center

• District 1607, Ni‘ihau Elementary/High School

While winners could be selected in all the non-partisan county races as early as next weekend, election rules and competitive races will make that difficult.

To be elected in the primary and bypass the General Election, candidates for mayor and prosecutor must receive more than 50 percent of votes cast for that contest.

If one of the four mayoral candidates — Rolf Bieber, Bernard Carvalho, Mel Rapozo and JoAnn Yukimura — is elected in the primary to fill the special mayoral vacancy created by Bryan Baptiste’s June 22 passing, there will be no mayor’s race in the General Election Nov. 4.

However, if no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the names of the top two vote-getters will be placed on the general ballot.

The same rules apply to Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho for county prosecutor; however, she is running unopposed.

Both the mayor and prosecutor serve four-year terms.

To be elected in the primary for one of the seven County Council seats, candidates must receive 30 percent of all votes cast.

Should fewer than seven candidates receive 30 percent of votes following the primary, two candidates for each vacant seat shall be placed on the ballot for the General Election. The names of the candidates receiving the highest number of primary votes, excluding the names of those already elected, shall be placed on the ballot until there are a sufficient number of candidates.

Under those rules, at least eight, and possibly as many as 15, of the 22 County Council candidates will be eliminated from contention after the Primary Election.

Because the County Council is elected at-large, each voter is eligible to vote for up to seven council candidates each election. Voters may vote for less than seven candidates, but not for more. Voting for more than seven candidates is referred to as over-voting and will void all council votes on the ballot.

Council members are elected to two-year terms.

State and federal primaries work very differently than the county’s.

In the partisan race for the U.S. representative for District II, each of the four candidates — Independent Shaun Stenshol, Democrat Mazie Hirono, Republican Roger Evans and Libertarian Lloyd Mallan — are the only representatives for their political party.

For that reason, each will move forward to November’s General Election as long as they receive at least one vote in the Primary Election.

Similar rules apply in races for state senator and state representative.

Democrat Gary Hooser and Republican JoAnne Georgi will each move through to the General Election for the state senator from District 7, representing Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau, with just one vote in the primary.

Democrats Hermina Morita (District 14), James Tokioka (District 15) and Roland Sagum (District 16) will be unopposed in the General Election, but cannot claim victory until November. One vote in the primary will move them through.

Finally, the non-partisan race for the 1st Departmental School District seat will send the top two primary vote-getters of the four candidates — Paul Bryant, Bill Sanborn, Patrick Walsh and Herbert Watanabe — to the General Election regardless of results.

For more information, call the county Elections Division at 241-1650 or visit the state Office of Elections Web site at hawaii.gov/elections, which has a polling place locator, maps and candidate profile information.

• Nathan Eagle and Michael Levine, staff writers, can be reached at 245-3681 (exts. 224 and 252) or via e-mail at neagle@kauaipubco.com and mlevine@kauaipubco.com

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