Election for Abercrombie's seat set for May 22


POSTED: Thursday, February 25, 2010

The election to fill U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie's 1st Congressional District seat will be held May 22, according to state elections officials.

Abercrombie is expected to resign Sunday to run for governor.

Scott Nago, state chief election officer, explained that the date was selected to give bidders enough time to submit proposals for the election equipment needed to hold the special election.

It will be the largest vote-by-mail election held in Hawaii, with roughly half of the state's voters eligible to vote because they live in the urban Honolulu district.

The votes will be counted and the winner announced in one report, Nago said.

There are three major candidates, Republican City Councilman Charles Djou, Senate President Colleen Hanabusa and former U.S. Rep. Ed Case, both Democrats.

The election is a winner-take-all contest to fill the remainder of Abercrombie's term. The regularly scheduled election for the new two-year congressional term will be held in the fall.

“;This is mainly good news for Hawaii. Because a small state like Hawaii can't afford to go without representation,”; Case said.

Congress usually does most of its work in May, June and July, so it is important to have someone representing Hawaii in Washington, Case added.

Hanabusa said she is looking forward to a vote-by-mail election, adding that Democrats should be effective in such a contest because they usually do well in the mail-in absentee portions of general elections.

“;Many of my supporters are accustomed to voting by mail, so it should be advantageous,”; Hanabusa said.

“;The best part is now we know the campaign dates. We are ready to go.”;

Djou also sees pluses for the new election system. “;This may change the dynamic of the election because the actual voting will be more spread out.”;

The timetable for the election has not yet been unveiled, but ballots are expected to be mailed to all registered voters well in advance of the May 22 voting deadline.

“;The voting is expected to be over a two-week period and gives voters time for more thought,”; Djou said.