Election officials cautiously eyeing storms

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Aug 04 2014 06:33:49 PM HST
Updated On: Aug 04 2014 08:37:09 PM HST

The hurricane could be on a collision course with the primary election, what state officials are planning to do in this possible scenario.

HONOLULU -

There are 231 polling places across the state.

Many of them are in public school cafeterias.

But they also double as emergency shelters.

Elections officials say there are 155 facilities that could be tapped to house displaced residents, and there's no way the facilities can do double duty.

Click here to watch Catherine Cruz's report.

One option could be to reschedule the primary, but the state elections office hopes that doesn't happen.

There have been weather- related challenges in the past and officials have had to rise to the occasion. 

"We have had high rains where the polls have had to be extended and we have had earthquakes where we had polls that were unusable and couldn't be repaired in time so we had to move that polling place. By law we have to list where our polling place is 60 days prior to election, but there is a statute for natural disasters where we can consolidate in the event of an emergency,” said state elections officer Scott Nago.

Nago points to Hurricane Iniki, which devastated Kauai and the great lengths officials went to protect the process and run a fair and clean election.

"The island didn't have power and that was in 1992 and what they did was take the ballots and fly them back to Honolulu. That was two or three weeks before the election which is more time than the three days we would have," said Nago.

That said, state officials are using the time to go over possible scenarios and how best to react.

Only the governor can use emergency powers to extend polling hours-- something he did last election when certain polls on the Big Island opened late.

 

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