Maui votes did not alter races from primaries
The Friday night tally of Maui’s 800 mail-in votes that were not included in the Aug. 9 election results did not change the outcomes of any Maui County or statewide races, according to results released by the state Office of Elections.
However, the 800 ballots did tweak the numbers in Maui County and statewide races since the official tallies were released after the Aug. 9 primary election.
Elections spokesman Rex Quidilla told online news service Civil Beat on Friday that the ballots were transmitted to the elections office Aug. 9 but inadvertently not counted.
Quidilla and Maui County Clerk Danny Mateo could not be reached for comment Saturday.
The Office of Elections said Friday night that the Maui ballot count would be included with the voting totals from the Puna region on the Big Island, where a makeup election was held Friday after two precincts in the rural area did not vote Aug. 9 because of damage from Tropical Storm Iselle.
The area became a battleground between incumbent U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa for the Senate seat. Election totals after Aug. 9 primary voting showed the two separated by a slim margin, with Schatz in the lead. The difference was small enough that the more than 8,000 registered voters in the Puna region could decide the race. Schatz prevailed Friday night.
On paper, two Maui County Democratic races appeared to be in limbo with the 800 Maui votes still to be tallied Friday.
Although seasoned candidates in both races – state House District 9 (Kahului, Puunene, Old Sand Hills and Maui Lani) and state Senate District 6 (South and West Maui) – said Saturday that they didn’t expect anything to change too much knowing that the ballots were mailed in and that they could come from any precinct on the island.
Former Maui County Mayor James “Kimo” Apana, who trailed incumbent state Rep. Justin Woodson by 312 votes in House District 9 according to the Aug. 9 results, said that when he looked at how many precincts his race had, as well as other figures, it just didn’t add up.
“Mathematically, you have . . . three-to-one odds, which is impossible,” Apana said Saturday.
Woodson could not be reached for comment.
After Friday’s tally, Apana still lost to Woodson, 1,777 to 2,091. Woodson gained 91 votes and Apana gained 89. Woodson retains his seat as there are no other challengers.
In the Senate District 6 race, longtime incumbent Roz Baker had a 452-vote lead over Terez Amato.
“You are always a little nervous (but) I felt pretty good about it,” Baker said a day after the ballot situation was uncovered.
She added that she was fairly certain that the mail-in ballots would not be from all one area or from all of her district’s precincts, so the entire 800 votes would not affect her race.
Amato could not be reached for comment Saturday, but on her Facebook page Friday night she expressed that a win would be a challenging task.
“Ok, guys . . . 800 ballots . . . we would still need to win 2:1 odds to win it.”
Following the results, Amato posted: “Well, THAT was exciting! While I would not expect a change in the result, I think a manual recount may be in order to restore faith in the system.”
Friday night’s totals had Baker garnering 2,699 votes to Amato’s 2,213 votes.
Baker now faces Libertarian Bronson Kaahui and Republican Jared Dubois in the Nov. 4 general election.
* Melissa Tanji can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.