Monday, January 11, 2010

Hawaii's top congressional porker resigns....state can't afford election to replace him

CNBC is reporting on the Porker of the Year poll sponsored by Citizens Against Governmen Waste (CAGW):
The polls are open for the annual Porker of the Year vote from Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), and the Democrats have an early lead with four out of the six nominees.

The organization names the most prolific earmark reaper in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009:
Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii: According to CAGW, Abercrombie ranked first in earmarks in the House in 2009 with 44 projects worth $256.8 million and fifth in the House in 2008 with 29 projects worth $153.6 million.
Too bad the State of Hawaii didn't reserve some of that pork money for the special election that Abercrombie's early resignation from that office necessitates:
Cash-strapped Hawaii can't afford to pay for an election to replace a congressman who is planning to step down next month to run for governor, potentially leaving 600,000 urban Honolulu residents without representation in Washington.

Budget cuts have left the state Office of Elections with about $5,000 to last until July, with a special election costing nearly $1 million, interim Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago said.

Until the state finds money or this fall's regularly scheduled elections occur, one of Hawaii's two seats in the House of Representatives will remain vacant.

"Democracy depends on representation of the people," Jean Aoki, legislative liaison for the Hawaii chapter of the League of Women Voters. "I can't imagine the citizens of our state not wanting representation in the highest body in the land to make laws. It's just unthinkable."

Elections officials are hoping to hold a vote-by-mail special election May 1 if they can get the $925,000 it would cost. An election with walk-in voting would cost $1.2 million.

Whoever wins would become the favorite to take on the job permanently following November's general election.

U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, a Democrat, announced last week he will resign Feb. 28 after 19 years so he can dedicate his time to the gubernatorial race. His two-year term was set to expire in January 2011.

His departure opens up the possibility that Hawaii's all-Democratic congressional delegation could be broken up for the first time since 1991.
Hawaii state officials hope that the federal government may be able to help out:
Federal money may be available to help Hawaii pay for a special election.

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission hasn't issued an opinion on whether federal money could be used, but it may be allowed under a law passed to upgrade voting systems after the 2000 presidential election, said commission spokeswoman Sarah Litton.

Hawaii would have to ask the commission to decide whether the money can be spent in that way, Litton said.
With the upcoming 2010 vote on the controversial health care bill, Nancy Pelosi needs every Democratic vote possible.  I'd say a federal bailout of Hawaii's Office of Elections is a no-brainer.

1 comment:

  1. When it for someone elses state, It pork.
    When it's for your state, it's doing your job.