Tale of the tal­lies

Vot­ing pat­terns emerge at polls in Molokai coun­cil, may­oral races

The Maui News - - FRONT PAGE - By COLLEEN UECHI Staff Writer

A day af­ter win­ning the most closely con­tested race for the Maui County Coun­cil, Keani Rawl­ins-Fer­nan­dez cred­ited a fo­cus on ar­eas with a his­tory of blank votes and in­creased cam­paign­ing on Maui — where vot­ers ul­ti­mately pro­pelled her to vic­tory.

Rawl­ins-Fer­nan­dez won all but one Maui is­land re­gion in her bid for the

Molokai res­i­dency seat against in­cum­bent Coun­cil

Mem­ber Stacy Criv­ello.

Criv­ello won Cen­tral

Maui, Molokai and Lanai, ac­cord­ing to precinct vot­ing tal­lies as of Wed­nes­day.

“I spent a lot more time phys­i­cally be­ing on Maui this time around,” Rawl­ins-Fer­nan­dez said.

Down by 1,000 votes early Tues­day night, Rawl­ins-Fer­nan­dez slipped past Criv­ello af­ter the third print­out and even­tu­ally fin­ished with 22,049 votes, or 43.7 per­cent, to Criv­ello’s 20,583 votes, or 40.8 per­cent.

Rawl­ins-Fer­nan­dez lost to Criv­ello by about 4,000 votes in the 2016 gen­eral elec­tion.

“In 2016, I filed late, and I knew it was more of a two-year plan,” Rawl­ins-Fer­nan­dez said. “I didn’t ex­pect to win.”

Since then, Rawl­ins-Fer­nan­dez has set up a head­quar­ters in Wailuku and said she fo­cused on meet­ing more peo­ple on Maui, in­creas­ing her ad­ver­tis­ing and tar­get­ing ar­eas that tal­lied a high num­ber of blank votes. In the 2016 gen­eral elec­tion, the Molokai race recorded 11,682 blank votes, the most of any coun­cil race. The Lanai race has the sec­ond most blank votes with 10,570.

“It was re­ally get­ting the mes­sage out and ed­u­cat­ing the vot­ers that they can vote in the Molokai race,” Rawl­ins-Fer­nan­dez said.

While the Molokai con­test again had the most blank votes this year, the num­ber had de­creased to 7,814. It was one of five races — in ad­di­tion to East Maui, West Maui, South Maui and Lanai — where the num­ber of blank votes was at least 7,000.

Rawl­ins-Fer­nan­dez, one of five ‘Ohana Coali­tion can­di­dates to earn a coun­cil seat, per­formed

best in dis­tricts that tended to sup­port ‘Ohana can­di­dates — West, East and South Maui. In West Maui, Rawl­ins-Fer­nan­dez col­lected 2,470 votes to Criv­ello‘s 2,132 votes; in East Maui she tal­lied 3,319 votes to Criv­ello’s 1,667; and in South Maui she had 4,006 votes to Criv­ello’s 2,958 votes. Rawl­ins-Fer­nan­dez also won Up­coun­try

with 4,795 votes to Criv­ello’s 4,061.

Mean­while, Criv­ello won Molokai with 1,326 votes to Rawl­ins-Fer­nan­dez’s 950, as well as Lanai, where Criv­ello drew 396 votes to Rawl­ins Fer­nan­dez’s 286.

Both can­di­dates’ most vo­terich re­gion, by far, was Cen­tral Maui, where Criv­ello had 8,043 votes, and Rawl­ins-Fer­nan­dez had 6,223.

When asked whether she

thought the ‘Ohana en­dorse­ment had helped her cam­paign, Rawl­ins-Fer­nan­dez said that “it helped enough to get us close to the fin­ish line, and it was up to each in­di­vid­ual can­di­date to get past the fin­ish line.” How­ever, she said she thought other can­di­dates, not just ‘Ohana-en­dorsed ones, also worked to­gether like a slate.

At 35, Rawl­ins-Fer­nan­dez will be the youngest mem­ber of the coun­cil. She said vot­ers

on Molokai were “in a pre­car­i­ous sit­u­a­tion,” want­ing to re­spect kupuna like Criv­ello but also want­ing to see young peo­ple take more re­spon­si­bil­ity.

“I want to up­lift the next gen­er­a­tion,” Rawl­ins-Fer­nan­dez said. “I want to make sure I’m build­ing ca­pac­ity so that there will be a large pool of peo­ple that I can pass the torch to.”

Vic­torino vs. Cochran

Mean­while in the may­oral race, win­ner Mike Vic­torino and run­ner-up Elle Cochran won in the same dis­tricts as in the pri­mary, but they gained ground in each other’s home re­gions.

Vic­torino was again strong in Cen­tral Maui, where he col­lected more than dou­ble Cochran’s votes (11,141 votes for Vic­torino and 5,036 for Cochran). He also held solid leads Up­coun­try (5,378 to 4,729), on Molokai (1,438 to 803) and on Lanai (505 to 269).

Cochran, mean­while, per­formed bet­ter than Vic­torino in her home district of West Maui (3,066 for Cochran and 2,561 for Vic­torino), as well as in South Maui (4,569 to 3,986) and East Maui (3,606 to 2,048).

Vic­torino made gains in Cochran strongholds like West Maui, where he pulled in three times as many votes as he did in the pri­mary, as well as in South Maui, where he also col­lected nearly three times as many votes.

Coun­ty­wide, Vic­torino gar­nered 13,501 more votes in the gen­eral than in the pri­mary elec­tion.

Cochran also im­proved her stand­ing in Vic­torino’s home area of Cen­tral Maui, where she more than dou­bled her

votes. She also more than dou­bled her votes in West Maui.

Coun­ty­wide, Cochran drew 11,639 more votes in the gen­eral than she did in the pri­mary.

Bet­ter turnout

More than half of regis­tered vot­ers showed up to the polls or cast ab­sen­tee bal­lots — an im­prove­ment over the pri­mary elec­tion. Dur­ing the gen­eral elec­tion, 398,398 out of 756,751 regis­tered vot­ers statewide cast bal­lots, a turnout of 52.6 per­cent. In Maui County the rates were sim­i­lar — 50,475 out of 96,721 regis­tered vot­ers cast bal­lots, a turnout of 52.2 per­cent.

Dur­ing the pri­mary, turnout was 38.6 per­cent statewide and 36.2 per­cent in Maui County.

Deputy County Clerk Josiah Nishita said Wed­nes­day that “the sheer vol­ume of calls re­ceived by our of­fice would sug­gest that many peo­ple waited un­til Elec­tion Day to up­date their voter reg­is­tra­tion in­for­ma­tion, or to get regis­tered for the first time.” He pointed out that peo­ple could take ad­van­tage of the ser­vices avail­able prior to Elec­tion Day, in­clud­ing the state’s on­line voter reg­is­tra­tion por­tal.

“Un­for­tu­nately, like reg­is­ter­ing your ve­hi­cle or get­ting it safety checked, those that wait un­til the last day pos­si­ble ex­pe­ri­ence much longer wait times than those who take care of it ear­lier,” Nishita said. “I am ex­tremely proud though of the per­se­ver­ance and ded­i­ca­tion of all of our staff and vol­un­teers who made this elec­tion pos­si­ble for Maui County vot­ers, and am very grate­ful for their ser­vice to the com­mu­nity.”

The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

May­oral can­di­date Elle Cochran awaits elec­tion num­bers Tues­day night. She per­formed well in her home district of West Maui, but did not bring home enough votes from Cen­tral Maui and Up­coun­try to keep pace with Mike Vic­torino.

Rawl­in­sFer­nan­dez

The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Maui County Mayor-elect Mike Vic­torino is cheered by sup­port­ers Tues­day night. He brought in strong vote to­tals in Cen­tral Maui — more than dou­ble Cochran’s tally — as well as solid leads in Up­coun­try, Molokai and Lanai.

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