| Guthrie Scrimgeour | The Garden Island |

LIHU‘E — With the beginning of the new year comes the enactment of a spate of new laws passed during the historic 2022 state legislative session.

Among the new measures that took effect on Jan. 1, 2023, is Act 47, which established ranked-choice voting in special federal elections or special elections of vacant Kaua‘i County Council seats.

Ranked choice voting allows voters to have a broader choice...

Though it only applies in limited circumstances, there is a scenario in which the new voting method could be used on Kaua‘i very soon.

Last week, state Rep. Jimmy Tokioka (a Democrat who represents portions of the Eastside) resigned his state house position to join Gov. Josh Green’s administration.

His seat will be filled in the next two months, based on a decision from the local Democratic Party and Green. If an active county council member is tapped for Tokioka’s role, this would trigger the state’s first ranked-choice special election to fill the empty council seat.

This is a distinct possibility, since one politician seeking the role is Council Member Luke Evslin. Evslin, who has served on the County Council for four years and was the top vote-getter in the 2022 election, expressed interest in the position to The Garden Island on Friday.

Ranked choice voting allows voters to have a broader choice in electing their representatives, encourages more candidates to try for office, and could eliminate the need for time-consuming and expensive primaries.

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