CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS: Presidential/Council/Charter Amendment Results from Maui County’s 2020 General Election

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It’s a lovely Sunday afternoon. Across Maui, residents and visitors are enjoying a bounty of outdoor activities. Well, except me. Political junkie that I am, I am surrounded in my office with printouts of Maui precinct counts: highlighting results, giving my calculator a workout, and otherwise searching for meaning in this most recent election.

I have not been alone in this endeavor, which is a good thing. I’ve only watched four elections since moving here (two of them seriously) and have little institutional knowledge to bring to the table. For that, I turned to frequent debate moderator and political analyst Dick Mayer and veteran journalist Susan Halas, whose Maui election-watching dates back to the 70s. They graciously provided analysis, insight, and suggestions for result organization as I waded through pages of data.

The Results

This month’s election saw voters elect progressive-minded candidates to the Maui County Council and approve six of seven charter amendments. That’s despite attempts by so-called “dark money” groups to get an opposite result. The donor-opaque, mainland-created Hui O Maui spent $297,500 to support a slate of conservative candidates and to urge rejection of all the charter amendments. The National Association of Realtors Fund disbursed $60,000 to support Stacy Crivello. They easily outspent progressive organizations who advocated the opposite.

The re-election of incumbents Tamara Paltin, Kelly King, Keani Rawlins-Fernandez and Shane Sinenci, and the addition of new Lanai Council Member Gabe Johnson, gives progressives a solid majority on the nine-member Council. With an additional vote from Council Member Mike Molina, the progressive majority could also override any mayoral veto.

The failure of the Office of Managing Director came as a surprise to many, although it has failed with voters before. The bigger surprise was the overwhelming support for the creation of a Maui Department of Agriculture. The charter amendment results, in particular, showed that Maui County voters made up their own minds about the charter amendments, rather than being swayed by “Vote No” or “Vote Yes” efforts about the entire slate.

Now, let’s start crunching…    Read More