A special election for District 4 on the Honolulu City Council was held on April 13, 2019. It was called after the Hawaii Supreme Court invalidated the results from the district’s regular election on November 6, 2018. Both candidates who ran in the regular election, Trevor Ozawa and Tommy Waters, were on the ballot in the special election.
Ozawa previously held the District 4 seat but was removed on January 2 pending the special election. A total of 34,005 votes were cast in the re-do election, with Waters receiving 51.4% of the vote to Ozawa’s 48.5%. In the November 2018 regular election, then-incumbent Ozawa had defeated Waters by 22 votes out of over 36,000 ballots cast, a margin of 0.06 percentage points.
Waters challenged the November results, arguing that some mailed absentee ballots should not have been counted. The court determined that 350 absentee mail-in ballots were received after the 6:00 pm election-day deadline and were incorrectly counted and added to the valid ballots. Because there was no way to distinguish between valid and invalid ballots and more ballots were incorrectly counted than the number of votes that separated the two candidates, the court called for a new election.
Waters and Ozawa previously faced off in the 2014 general election. In that race, Ozawa defeated Waters by 47 votes out of 37,162 ballots cast, a margin of 0.2 percentage points. Waters challenged those results and asked the Hawaii Supreme Court to call for a recount, but his request was rejected.
Honolulu is the largest city in Hawaii and the 53rd-largest city in the U.S. by population.