Is it even fair? And could it have been even worse?...
By Brad Friedman on 8/13/2014, 1:39pm PT  

A very bizarre situation is occurring right now in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary in Hawaii, where last Saturday's Election Day was disrupted by a hurricane. While voting was successfully carried out in most of the state's precincts, 2 out of 247 were unable to open for voting due to the storm.

The result is that the contentious U.S. Senate primary race between incumbent, recently appointed, Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz and his challenger Colleen Hanabusa now stands with a little more than 1,600 votes between them out of about 225,000 cast, according to the "too close to call" reported results of those who voted on Saturday.

But the election is now being extended to allow those 2 precincts --- and only those two precincts --- to vote this Saturday.

The approximately 7,000 or so voters from those two precincts will determine the final results of the primary --- and probably the next U.S. Senator from Hawaii --- as Rachel Maddow explains below, while appropriately asking: "Is that fair? And if that isn't fair, what would be fair?...Is holding a new election for just those two precincts fair to either candidate? Does it advantage one or the other of them? Should we expect more voters to go vote now that they know just how important their votes are?"...

I don't pretend to have any answers to the question of "fairness" in this bizarre case, but I'd love to hear your thoughts. The current solution, as unfair as it seems to be, at least seems to be equally unfair to everybody, for whatever that may be worth.

One wonders, however, if Hawaii had a polling place Photo ID restriction, how many voters wouldn't be able to vote at all simply because all of their belongs were lost in the storm? That particular point, while a seemingly exceptional circumstance here, isn't actually all that exceptional. Remember when, for example, in 2012, Hurricane Sandy threatened the Presidential election in NJ, NY, CT, PA, VA and OH?

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