May 1 is earliest Hawaii could hold special election for Abercrombie's seat
The state's interim chief elections officer said today that the soonest the state could hold a special election to fill out the remainder of U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie's term in Congress is May 1.
Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, announced today that he is resigning Feb. 28 to concentrate on his campaign in the Democratic primary for governor. Under state law, a special election could be held no sooner than 60 days after the vacancy.
Scott Nago, the interim chief elections officer, told the state Senate Ways and Means Committee that his preference would be to hold an all mail special election with some walk-in voting sites.
He estimated that the cost of an all mail special election would be $925,000. A traditional special election with polling places would cost about $1.2 million.
Nago said the state is seeking clarification about whether the state can use federal election money to finance the election. Otherwise, the state Office of Elections would need money for the special election, since there is not enough money in the office's budget.
State Attorney General Mark Bennett told the committee that the state has an obligation to call a special election to fill out the remainder of Abercrombie's term, which ends in January 2011.
Bennett said there would likely be a legal challenge if the state waits to hold a special election in conjunction with the September primary because of budget concerns.