A razor-thin margin of 22 out of almost 40,000 votes, or a mere .06 percent, separates the two candidates for Honolulu City Council District 4 – Trevor Ozawa and Tommy Waters.

With 17 out of 17 precincts reporting at the end of the night on Nov. 6, Waters was ahead by 72 votes.

During the wee hours of the morning, however, approximately 1,200 ballots were counted, and the result was a swing of 94 votes in the other direction.

Trevor Ozawa, left, led Tommy Waters by 41 votes in final returns.

Courtesy of the candidates

Where did these ballots come from? Why weren’t they at the Capitol before midnight? When were they turned in by voters?

Who had custody of the ballots from the time they were turned in until they were counted?

What is the process for handling absentee ballots that are dropped off at the polls or clerk’s office? Was the process consistently followed?

These are some of the questions being asked.

Deadline Looms

With a tight deadline of Nov. 26, a group of concerned voters has organized and is asking the Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago for a hand recount. According to Hawaii Administrative Rules Section 3-172-102(c), he has the authority to do so.

The rule states, “In lieu of relying on the initial results from an electronic voting system, the chief election officer may count ballots . . . by hand . . . .”

Nago could take a huge step in restoring confidence of voters that they are doing everything in their purview to get it right. A difference of .06 percent is just too small to ignore.

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