Hulō! Hulō! You did it again! Voter turnout for the November 3 Hawaiʻi General Election was a smashing success. As we witnessed in the primaries, voter registration and turnout for the general election exceeded expectations setting a new standard for voter participation.
Voter registration jumped to 832,466 from 756,751 in 2018, representing a 10% increase year-over-year. Similarly, the Office of Elections received and counted 579,165 ballots from across the state indicating a 42% increase in voter turnout over the 2018 General Election (398,657 ballots) and a 32% increase over the 2016 General Election (437,664 ballots).
Among the winning candidates this year are 28 newly elected or re-elected Native Hawaiian federal, state and county elected officials, including Kaialiʻi (Kai) Kahele who is heading to Washington, D.C. Kahele is the seventh Native Hawaiian ever elected to represent Hawaiʻi in the U.S. Congress and only the second since statehood. His predecessors include Robert Wilcox (1900-1903), Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole (1903-1922), and Daniel Akaka (1977-1990).
Eight Native Hawaiians won their respective races for the State House of Representatives, including Jeanne Kapela from Hawaiʻi Island; James Kunane Tokioka and Daynette Morikawa from Kauaʻi; Lynne DeCoite from Molokaʻi; and Patrick Pihana Branco, Ty Cullen, Stacelynn Kehaulani Eli and Daniel Holt from Oʻahu. Kurt Fevella from Senate District 19 on Oʻahu also won his race.
Native Hawaiians are especially well-represented on our county councils across the pae ʻāina after this year’s election. Winning their respective races for seats on their County Councils are: Maile David, Holeka Inaba, Ashley Kierkiewicz and Sue Lee Loy (Hawaiʻi); Bernard Carvalho, Mason Chock and KipuKai Kualiʻi (Kauaʻi); Tasha Kama, Mike Molina, Keani Rawlins-Fernandez and Shane Sinenci (Maui); and Esther Kiaʻāina and Andria Tupola (Honolulu). And Hawaiʻi County’s new prosecuting attorney is Kelden Braun Akoni Waltjen.
To learn more about 2020’s General Election results, visit elections.hawaii.gov/election-results/.
With the conclusion of the 2020 election cycle, it is now time to turn our collective focus to working with our newly elected officials at the federal, state and county levels. We must continue to meet our kuleana to engage in government processes to ensure those issues most important to our lāhui and ʻohana are given the attention they deserve.
Stay informed and get involved. Submit testimony on bills. Join a neighborhood board or a county or state board or commission. Write letters to the editor offering your perspective on important issues to Ka Wai Ola or to your local newspaper. Be the change you want to see for our lāhui.