Alapa, a former Miss Hawaii, had 18.7% of the vote, while Machado, chairwoman of the OHA Board of Trustees, had 17% of the vote. More than 55% of the votes were blank.
In Hawaii, if one candidate receives more than 50% of the votes during the primary — excluding blank and over votes — they win the election outright.
If no candidate receives more than 50%, the top two contenders face off during the November general election. Excluding blank and over votes, Alapa had about 42% of the vote, far short of the number needed to win outright.
Still, when reached Saturday night, Alapa was incredibly happy with the results. She said she was expecting that the race would lead to a runoff but is grateful that she actually came out ahead, given that Machado has served on the board for many years.
“It’s been an incredible experience for a newcomer,” Alapa said. “It’s been a crazy journey so far and I’m just so truly amazed and just truly blessed to see so much incredible support.”
Machado couldn’t be reached for comment on Saturday evening.
Keola Lindsey and Lanakila Mangauil will be facing off in November for the Hawaii island seat on the OHA Board of Trustees. The two led a field of 11 competitors, the only OHA contest without an incumbent.
Lindsey had 9.4% of the total votes cast, while Mangauil had 8.5% of the votes cast.
The OHA race is nonpartisan, but Lindsey and Mangauil represent differing perspectives on a key issue — the question of whether to build the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea. Mangauil is a Hawaiian educator who is best known for his headline-grabbing activism on Mauna Kea to prevent the telescope’s construction.
Lindsey is a longtime OHA staffer who says he is neutral on the issue of building the TMT. He is the nephew of the current trustee, Robert Lindsey Jr.
Dan Ahuna was the only candidate to win outright this weekend, securing another term representing Kauai and Niihau on the OHA board.
He received 22.6% of the votes cast in that race, but more than 55% of the votes were blank or over votes. Once those are discarded, Ahuna received more than half of the vote. Ahuna didn’t reply to a voicemail left late Saturday evening.
Incumbent Keli’i Akina and competitor Keoni Souza are heading toward a November runoff for the at-large seat on the OHA board. Akina collected about 18.9% of the vote and Souza had 14.8%, beating five other candidates.
About 45% of the votes in the Hawaii island race and the at-large race were blank. All eligible voters statewide are able to vote for every OHA seat, even the island representatives, and candidates sometimes find it difficult to campaign statewide and garner enough name recognition to attract votes.
Some people also choose not to vote for the board out of respect for Native Hawaiians. The contests used to be limited to voters of Native Hawaiian ancestry prior to a court ruling 20 years ago known as Rice v. Cayetano.
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is a semi-autonomous state agency that’s charged with managing a multimillion-dollar trust for the betterment of Hawaii’s Indigenous people. This year, there are four seats available in the nine-member Board of Trustees at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
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