Hawaii County and state election workers are preparing for the possibility that voting could again be disrupted in lower Puna as a lava flow continues to advance toward populated areas. Election officials say they identified 7,542 voters in three precincts from Ainaloa to Kalapana who could have difficulty voting during the Nov. 4 General Election should the June 27 lava flow continue its long march to the sea. They are essentially the same voters, minus the precinct covering Hawaiian Paradise Park, who had voting disrupted during the Aug. 9 primary because of damage from Tropical Storm Iselle.
During that disaster, voting in two Puna precincts was delayed, and the state Office of Elections received much criticism for its response. Chief Election Officer Scott Nago said his office is using the time it has to prepare and make accommodations for voters, even if they have to relocate. “This is a little different” than the primary, he said. “We have a lot of lead time.”
Still, anticipating the path of lava can be difficult. Another issue is that some voters might have evacuated by the time Election Day nears.
There are three polling places serving lower Puna — two in Pahoa and one at Keonepoko Elementary School near Hawaiian Beaches and Hawaiian Shores. Each could potentially be in the flow’s path. Polling places could be consolidated if one or more become unavailable, Nago said.
Full Article: Election officials prep for lava | West Hawaii Today.