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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, May 29, 2010

Prosecutor vote might wait till general election


By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Advertiser Staff Writer

The special election to replace Mayor Mufi Hannemann likely will take place as part of the September primary election, but the contest to find a successor to city prosecutor Peter Carlisle may not happen until the November general for logistical reasons.

That's according to Council Chairman Todd Apo, who oversees the city clerk's office responsible for both elections.

The special elections are the result of Hannemann's decision to run for governor this fall. Hannemann and Carlisle who is eyeing the mayor's seat are both leaving in the middle of their four-year terms, triggering special elections to replace them.

In such midterm vacancies, the state resign-to-run law requires them to resign from their current office before they can file candidacy papers for another state or county elected office.

(However, midterm local office holders do not have to resign to run for a federal office, as was the case this year when state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa ran for Congress.)

Carlisle said he will run for the mayor's seat once it's vacant.

Hannemann said he intends to wait until the July 20 candidate filing deadline to resign as mayor and to file his nomination papers.

Once that happens, the council has 10 days to hold a meeting to set a special election for someone to fill the remaining two years of Hannemann's term.

"The goal is to have it ready with the primary," Apo said. Logistics come into play because the list of candidates for the mayoral special election would have to be prepared in time to be included on the primary election ballots, he said.

"We need to have that list of names together to go the state elections office to get the ballots printed," Apo said. He said he believes there's enough time to get the mayoral special election on the September ballot.

But it's for the same reason that Apo and the clerk's office believe there may not be enough time for the prosecutor's race to be placed on the September ballot.

The law says when there is a special election for a vacant elected office, the council must give at least 10 days for candidates to file nomination papers.

Apo said he'll give mayoral candidates between 10 and 14 days.

The same rules, however, also will apply to the special election for the new prosecutor. Once Carlisle resigns, the council must hold a separate, later meeting to set the date for a special election to replace him.

"So that list of (prosecutor) candidates isn't going to be set for another three weeks after that," Apo said. "That's going to be too late for the primary election ballots, which is why we have to push it to the general."

Carlisle, however, said yesterday he intends to resign within 48 hours of Hannemann's July 20 departure.

That may, or may not, be enough time to get on the September ballot.