Polling places shift after quakes
Up to 4,000 voters on the Big Island will be voting in different polling places because of damage from the Oct. 15 earthquakes.
Maui County elections officials are also trying to figure out how registered voters in Kaupo and Kipahulu will be able to cast ballots after the shutdown of the Paihi bridge that connects them to polling places in Hana.
At least three, and possibly four, polling places on the Big Island were affected by the Oct. 15 earthquakes, said Patricia Nakamoto, the Big Island elections program administrator.
Three polling places -- the Ikuo Hisaoka Gym in Kohala, the Laupahoehoe Community School Library and the Honaunau Elementary School cafeteria -- suffered structural damage.
The county is also awaiting a report on the structural integrity of the Mealani Research Station in Waimea, Nakamoto said.
Voters who normally vote at the Hisaoka Gym will have to go to the Kohala High School cafeteria.
Laupahoehoe cafeteria voters will be directed to the school office lobby, and Honaunau School cafeteria voters will be able to cast ballots in a classroom on campus, Nakamoto said.
If the Mealani Research Station is unavailable, the county hopes to set up a polling place in another building on the property, or officials might send voters to another nearby polling place.
Nakamoto said voters affected will receive new yellow voter cards letting them know about the polling place change. Radio and newspaper ads will also be placed with the new polling place information.
On Maui, County Clerk Roy Hiraga said it is unclear how many registered voters are cut off from their polling place in Hana. From conversations with Civil Defense and the Hana Post Office, Hiraga said it appears about 50 families live in Kaupo and Kipahulu.
Civil Defense workers will be going out to the area today to assess the situation and will be asking residents about their desire to vote, he said. Elections officials will figure out what to do, after they receive the assessment.