Town on Maui will vote 3 days before election
Ballots will be flown by helicopter to part of Kipahulu cut off following the quakes
WAILUKU » Voting at the polls in the general election will be coming early in a region of Kipahulu in east Maui, where a badly damaged bridge and precarious roads have cut off some constituents.
Rather than voting Tuesday, a number of voters in Kipahulu will be casting their ballots this Saturday.
Two staff members with the Maui County Clerk's Office will be flying by private helicopter into Kipahulu to assist in the voting.
County clerk official Shirley Magarifuji said voting is to take place between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Kipahulu Triangle pavilion, about a half a mile from a helicopter landing site near the Kipahulu District Visitor Center at Haleakala National Park.
Magarifuji said preliminary estimates indicate there are roughly 80 or more voters in the remote area.
"Some of them have already voted by mail," Magarifuji said.
She said the ballots will be sealed in envelopes and counted on Election Day.
Kipahulu residents in the isolated region normally would vote at Hana High and Elementary School.
But County Civil Defense officials blocked the use of the Paihi Bridge between Hana Town and Kipahulu after its foundations were found to be ready to collapse following two earthquakes and torrential rains in mid-October.
The county plans to temporarily replace the bridge with a portable steel bridge. The installation is expected to take 20 to 30 days, according to Mayor Alan Arakawa.
County Clerk Roy Hiraga said in his 18 years at the clerk's office, it is the first time staff has had to be flown by helicopter to help in the Maui elections because voters were cut off from going to normal polling places.