Kaua‘i sees 72% turnout for 2020 General Election

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    The historic county building.

LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i recorded a record 72% voter turnout for the 2020 General Election.

Results came in late Tuesday evening due to long in-person voting lines on O‘ahu that delayed state-wide race tallies.

Incumbent councilmember Mason Chock led the group vying for the Kaua‘i County Council with 18,592, according to the third print-out released by the Office of Elections Nov. 3.

Chock, who spent the evening with his family in Wailua Homesteads, took to Facebook late Tuesday.

“We are in one of the most trying times in our lives as a human race and despite the insurmountable challenges we face as a community, I couldn’t be prouder to be from this mokupuni o Kaua‘i,” he wrote.”The sacrifices our people have made and continue to make to keep our island safe will pay dividends in the long run if we are able to keep our Covid-19 cases low enough to stay open, now is the time for us to seize the opportunity to be more self-sufficient, innovative and create a sustainable future.”

Behind him, incumbent Luke Evslin came in with 17,368, followed by current Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro with 16,550 votes, former mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. garnering 16,345 votes, newcomer Billy DeCosta with 14,516 votes, councilmember Felicia Cowden coming in for her second term with 14,388 votes, and to round out the top seven, KipuKai Kuali‘i with 13,960 votes. Results will be certified in the coming days and may change slightly as they are finalized.

Chock and Kaneshiro will be entering their final terms on the council.

“I am honored and humbled to be elected for my final two years on council,” Kaneshiro said in a statement. “I want to thank the residents of Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau for continuing to give me the opportunity to serve our island home.”

DeCosta, who was running his fourth campaign for a council seat, waited for results in ‘Oma‘o with his family. Between the second and third print-out, he moved up from sixth to fifth.

“The time is now to pave our sustainable path for our keiki will be able to look back decades from now and reflect on those leaders elected in 2020 who had the vision for their future!” DeCosta said in a statement. “Thanks to all our candidates who ran a respectful campaign like we always do. Now let’s break bread while sitting at the table like our elders did and work cohesively to ensure it gets done!”

In Kileaua Tuesday night, Cowden went to bed without knowing the results. Coming in for her second term, an unclear outcome isn’t anything new for Cowden. In 2018, during her first run for council, the first set of results placed her outside of the seven-seat council. By the second printout, she’d scooted her way in.

“I woke up late in the night and sighed a welcome, happy relief,” she said Wednesday morning. “I don’t take it for granted.”

In this upcoming term, she’s committing to economic stability, housing and the evolving coronavirus pandemic. And those are among topics top of mind for Carvalho.

With over 30 years of Kaua‘i government experience, including a decade as mayor, Carvalho said he’s on the other side now.

“Unlike under my past hat, I’m amongst six other members, and I understand that.”

Gathered with his family, he said he’s never had to wait so long for the first print-out that came at 10:53 p.m., near four hours later than the usual 7 p.m.

“I’m ready to serve bridging connections and bringing resources home,” he said.

Current Kaua‘i County Council Vice Chair Ross Kagawa termed out, and no reelection efforts from ex-officio councilmember Arthur Brun who has been unable to perform his council duties due to a federal indictment.

Dr. Addison Bulosan stayed up all night with his family until the first print-out was release. Bulosan, running for the first time placed eighth with 11,735 votes.

Bulosan said this is only the beginning. He said he’s “hyper-committed to working with businesses and nonprofits” that he’s networked with the past few months.

“The work starts today,” he said committing to run for the council again in 2022.

At the bottom of the pack, Jade Wai’ale’ale Battad with 10,998 votes, Ed Justus with 6,596 votes, Mike Dandurand with 6,278 votes, Wally Nishimura with 6,210 votes, Shirley Simbre-Medeiros with 5,647 votes and Richard Fukushima with 5,034.

It was a first run for Wai’ale’ale Battad, too.

“I feel very positive about my campaign. I feel like I did all I could do with what I had to work within light of COVID-19,” she said in a statement. “I was new to the arena and learned much along this journey.”

During the primary election in August, County of Kaua‘i Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar won as the sole runner.

Incumbent state Sen. Ron Kouchi of District 8 won reelection during the primary as well.

Incumbents won around in state representative districts on Kaua‘i.

For State Representative District 14, Rep. Nadine Nakamura leads with 7,981 votes to challenger Steve Monas’s 2,487.

In District 15, Rep. James Tokioka garnered 7,709 votes to Steve Yoder’s 2,879.

And in District 16, Rep. Daynette “Dee” Morikawa held 7,329 votes to Ana Mo Des with 2,609 votes.

“Kaua‘i has strong representation at the legislature with my colleagues, Senate President Ron Kouchi, Representatives Nadine Nakamura, and Jimmy Tokioka,” Morikawa said Tuesday night. “We will continue to do our best for Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau. We have so much work to do. We must put our differences aside and remember that future generations depend on us to create a thriving economy, a clean environment and a safe place to live.”


Reporting from Stephanie Shinno contributed to this story.

  1. I saw a Vampire once November 5, 2020 3:14 am Reply

    That is a lot, 72% turnout. And they all chose people who they think could best do the job of a county councilmen. Wow. Bernard P. Carvalho jr. made it in again. Doesn’t he have any retirement pay from being a former mayor of Kaua’i?

  2. truth be known November 5, 2020 12:42 pm Reply

    Why are the results of the presidential election not included in this report? This, I suspect, is the primary reason for the record breaking turnout. Perhaps the main reason is that the vote was a lot closer than the predominately democrat media would have liked, possibly heralding a shift in the political mood of the the state.

  3. Erik B November 6, 2020 2:05 pm Reply

    72% turnout a record? Haha and 90% voted in Wisconsin (not) 92% Pennsylvania (again not). What will those who voted for Communism do when it actually happens. No Starbucks , no iPhones , no nothing

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