Tuesday, January 22, 2002

Council candidate runs
afoul of election rule

Common Cause cites a mailing
of absentee ballot applications

By Rosemarie Bernardo

Larry Meacham of Common Cause Hawaii said he planned to file a complaint with the state Elections Office and city clerk today against Linda Lingle and Sam Aiona for mailing voter absentee ballot applications with campaign material for Aiona's Council campaign.

"Everybody should follow the rules," said Meacham, who received a copy of the ballot application Sunday.

Residents received an absentee ballot application and a letter signed by Lingle asking them to support Aiona for the District V City Council seat, which represents Manoa, Moiliili, McCully, Tantalus, Makiki, Pawaa, Ala Moana and Kewalo.

A special election will be held Saturday to replace Andy Mirikitani, who was convicted of accepting kickbacks and extortion last July.

The attached message stated: "With your vote we can return Sam to public office. Attached is an application for an absentee ballot that will make it easy to vote for Sam."

Aiona said, "We're trying to encourage voter participation. ... I don't know of any wrongdoing."

He said he did not know how many voter absentee ballot applications were mailed, and plans to have his attorneys look into it. Lingle could not be reached for comment.

GOP Executive Director Micah Kane said: "Our full intent is that people of Hawaii turn out to vote. ... We feel that we haven't done anything wrong."

"We want to maintain a high level of integrity in our process," Kane said.

According to Chapter 53 of the Hawaii Administrative Rules, the application for absentee voter ballot and instructions may be reproduced. However, the copied voter ballot application cannot include "any campaign or informational literature unrelated to voter registration."

This is the first time the rule has come up in an election since it took effect in September 2000, said city elections Administrator Glen Takahashi.

Takahashi said he plans to ask Aiona to comply with the administrative rule.

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