Cayetano wants
vote for Mink’s
seat on Nov. 5

He hopes to avoid paying
$2 million for a special election

Mink's body to lie in state tonight

By Richard Borreca and Craig T. Gima

In an effort to save the estimated $2 million needed for a special election to fill out Rep. Patsy Mink's term, Gov. Ben Cayetano is asking Attorney General Earl Anzai to seek the state Supreme Court's approval to allow the election to be held the same time as the Nov. 5 general election.

Election 2002

However, Cayetano said this morning that it would be difficult to get the court to change a state law.

"The law is against us, but we are asking the court's help in arriving at an equitable solution," he said. 

The Governor's actions, however, caught Dwayne Yoshina, chief elections officer, by surprise. Yoshina said this morning that he hadn't heard about the proposed time change.

University of Hawaii constitutional law professor Jon Van Dyke said he believes the state Supreme Court has the power to interpret election law.

He cited the ruling yesterday by the New Jersey Supreme Court, which allows Democrats to put a new name on the ballot for the U. S. Senate even though the deadline to change the ballot had passed.

While New Jersey and Hawaii have different state laws, Van Dyke believes the situations are similar. But the state Supreme Court has to be willing to take up the case, and the ballots need to be printed in time, Van Dyke said.

The state law covering the special election to fill a vacancy for a United States Representative requires a 60-day notice. But it also contains the phrase, "The special election shall be conducted and the results ascertained so far as practicable," which may allow the special election to be held earlier, Van Dyke said.

Meanwhile, state officials are still trying to figure out who can vote in the special election.

Mink was elected two years ago, before district lines were redrawn because of the 2000 census and reapportionment. Since then, parts of her old district, mostly in Waipahu and Mililani Mauka, were put into the congressional district now represented by U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie.

Mink's 2nd Congressional District covers the neighbor islands and rural Oahu.

The question before state officials is whether they have to use the district lines from the 2000 election or whether they can use the current precincts and voter lists for the Nov. 30 special election.

Yoshina has asked for an opinion from the attorney general. He favors using the post-reapportionment voter rolls because he says they would more accurately reflect the population because the old district will have to be reconstructed on election computers, and because it will be less confusing.

If the state has to use the old district lines, it sets up an awkward situation in which some voters will be able to cast ballots in the special election but will not be able to vote in the district in the Nov. 5 general election or in a Jan. 4 special election, if necessary.

The pre-reapportionment computer records were reprogrammed to reflect current voting lists, so the old district lines would have to be reconstructed, said Glen Takahashi, election administrator for Honolulu. New precincts were created and precinct lines redrawn, he said.

Reconstructing the old district will be "challenging," Yoshina said.

"It's like when the milk is spilled on the table. You can't always get it back," Takahashi said.

Van Dyke believes it should be OK to use the current election lists.

"If the voting population has shifted, I would think you would use the new borders," he said.

Three people have filed papers to run in the Nov. 30 special election: former City Councilman Kekoa Kaapu, Arturo Reyes and Charles Collins.


Mink’s body will
lie in state tonight in
the Capitol courtyard

By Crystal Kua

His spiritual message will be one of giving comfort -- to a family, a state and a nation mourning the death of U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink.

"Life is difficult and hard. It presents us with many unexpected challenges, and many times we can't get through these on our own strength," said the Rev. O.W. Efurd, who will deliver the prayer and homily at Mink's state funeral tomorrow at the state Capitol.

"So that's the reason that we need to have faith and trust in God and let him be part of our daily lives."

Beginning at 4 p.m. today, the public will get a chance to bid farewell to the Democratic congresswoman, who died Saturday after battling viral pneumonia.

Mink's body will lie in state in a closed casket overnight in the Capitol courtyard. The public viewing will end at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow, and services will begin 30 minutes later. Following the service, the public will have a final opportunity to pay respects before a procession leaves for a private service at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl, where Mink will be buried. Her husband, John, is a World War II veteran.

"Even though she was ill, I don't think most of us realized the severity of it, so (Mink's death) was a real shock, and so I think that everyone needs that comfort," said Efurd, executive director of the Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention, an organization of Baptist churches in Hawaii, Guam and American Samoa.

It is the same kind of consoling that Efurd has given his daughter, Laura, who worked in Mink's Washington, D.C., office from 1991 to 1999. Laura Efurd left Mink's office for a post at the Labor Department before going to work for the Clinton White House.

Laura Efurd flew into town to offer support to Mink's family and her former colleagues.

"She came back to try and help as much as she could with the things that need to be done during this period of time," her father said.

A 25-member congressional delegation, along with members of Mink's Washington staff, will arrive at Hickam Air Force Base tomorrow to attend the service.

U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt, D-Mo., the House minority leader; U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, who served with Mink in Congress; and members of Hawaii's congressional delegation, including U.S. Sens. Dan Inouye and Dan Akaka and U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, are among the dignitaries who will attend.

Local television stations will broadcast the service live.

Free public parking will be available at the Civic Center at South Beretania and Alapai streets today from 4 p.m. The lot will remain open overnight, and security will be on hand.

Tomorrow, besides the Civic Center lot, additional parking will be available at the Alapai Bus Yard from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Mink will be the fourth person to lie in state at the current Capitol building. The others were former Gov. John Burns, U.S. Sen. Spark Matsunaga and entertainer Israel Kamakawiwo'ole.

Rep. Patsy Mink

E-mail to City Desk


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