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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, January 22, 2002

Mailing by council candidate under fire

Voters to elect Mirikitani successor
Profiles of the council candidates
 •  Previous story: Many issues face District 5

By Lynda Arakawa
Advertiser Capitol Bureau

A public watchdog group is filing complaints against Hawai'i Republican Party Chairwoman Linda Lingle and Honolulu City Council candidate Sam Aiona, who mailed voters absentee ballot applications with a campaign endorsement from Lingle.

Linda Lingle said she wants to put an end to "corrupt" behavior.

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Larry Meacham, executive director of Common Cause Hawaii, yesterday questioned Aiona's mailing of absentee ballot applications that include a letter from Lingle asking voters to support Aiona.

Aiona is among 14 candidates for the council seat vacated by Andy Mirikitani, who was convicted of federal corruption charges.

Meacham, who said the mailer violates the Hawai'i Administrative Rules, intends to file a complaint with the State Elections Office and the city clerk's office.

According to the rules, reproduced applications for absentee ballots "shall not be included in, attached to, or affixed to, any campaign or informational literature unrelated to voter registration."

In a letter above the application, Lingle praises Aiona and says: "...With your vote we can end the corrupt, unethical behavior that has permeated the City Council over the past four years."

Sam Aiona is encouraging people to cast their votes.

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The Lingle letter, which includes a picture of herself with Aiona, also says: "With your vote we can return Sam to public office. Attached is an application for an absentee ballot that will make it easy to vote for Sam."

Meacham said Common Cause received complaints from some voters in the district, which covers Manoa, Makiki and Ala Moana.

"You're not supposed to send out electioneering stuff with an absentee ballot," he said. "You're not supposed to send out anything, as a matter of fact. They should have known that. This is a real clear violation."

Aiona, who maintains that his campaign did nothing wrong, said he cannot comment on the complaint until he sees it.

"We know of no rules that we violated," he said. "We're trying to make people aware of this election. ... We're trying to get as many people as possible to vote."

Lingle was on the Mainland for a conference and could not be reached for comment, but Republican Party executive director Micah Kane said there is nothing wrong with the mailing.

Reach Lynda Arakawa at larakawa@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8070.