Hawaii’s primary election Saturday will proceed as scheduled.

That means registered voters throughout most of the state can begin showing up at designated polling places as early as 7 a.m. The polls close at 6 p.m.

The exception is two polling places on the Big Island, says the Hawaii State Elections Office.

Roads leading to Hawaii Paradise Community Center (Precinct 04-01) and Keoneopoko Elementary School (Precinct 04-02) polling places are closed.

“According to Hawaii County Civil Defense, the damage to roadways have left some communities in Puna isolated,” Chief Election Officer Scott Nago said in a press release Friday afternoon.

Voter turnout: No voters at Nuuanu polling place

Voting booths in Nuuanu on Oahu, 2012.

Brian Tseng/Civil Beat

Puna includes District 4, where Rep. Faye Hanohano faces four Democratic challengers. A Hawaii County Council district race will also be impacted.

Nago said that voting in the rescheduled election will be done by mail ballot.

The state office will work closely with the Office of the County Clerk to set up a timeline for ballots to be provided to voters in the affected polling places.

“However, votes cast by absentee ballot for these polling places will be counted and included with tomorrow’s election results, in accordance with state law,” the office said.

The first election results will be posted beginning at 8 p.m., with hourly reports to follow until 11 p.m.

A Very Important Vote

There is a lot on the line Saturday: Races for governor, lieutenant governor and the U.S. House and Senate are all hotly contested.

As well, there are key contests for the Hawaii Legislature, county councils, mayorships on Kauai and Maui and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

Early indications from county clerks are that voter registration numbers and requests for mail ballots are up.

With the storm’s imminent approach, most candidates halted campaigning but urged their supporters to exercise their voting privilege at early walk-in polling places like Honolulu Hale.

The primary’s status was touch-and-go all day Thursday and most of Friday, as Hurricane Iselle bore down on the island chain. Another serious storm, Julio, remained a threat as of Friday evening.

After hitting the Big Island first, however, Iselle was soon downgraded to a tropical storm. By 3:30 p.m. the “all clear” had been signaled for Hawaii, Maui and Honolulu counties. Kauai would soon follow.

Officials in Constant Communication

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Attorney General David Louie said during meetings with reporters late in the week that the administration had been in frequent touch with the National Weather Service, various responders and the state Office of Elections regarding events.

In some circles, Abercrombie detractors grumbled that the governor might postpone the primary to somehow get more votes, since he’s trailing in the polls. It’s not clear how that would have worked, however.

Others complained that the governor was getting a lot of media face time as he helped lead the state’s response to the storms.

But Abercrombie, who is in a tough re-election fight against state Sen. David Ige, said he had taken off his “election hat” during the storm crisis and was focused solely on the job he said voters elected him to do.

Meanwhile, Nago, the chief elections officer, was also briefed by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency on the progress of Iselle.

Midday Friday, Nago’s office said that any decision “to deviate from the original election plans” would be made based on the latest storm information “and in further consultation with the county clerks, emergency management officials, and the Attorney General.”

The attorney general had said that some polling precincts might be consolidated if roads were inaccessible. It was also possible that voting hours would be extended beyond 6 p.m., as has happened in previous elections during inclement weather.

The Elections Office still has options open to it should events warrant them Saturday.

The general election, by the way, is Nov. 4. Hawaii’s hurricane season concludes Nov. 30.

For complete election results beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday, visit the Hawaii State Elections Office.

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