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Voter turnout remains low in primary

By Craig Gima


Despite a hotly contested Honolulu mayor’s race and primaries for the Senate and U.S. House, Hawaii appears likely to remain among the states with the lowest voter turnout following Saturday’s primary election.

Final election returns show about 42.3 percent, or 290,653 of the state’s 687,500 registered voters, cast ballots.

The turnout is still higher than in 2008, when voter turnout reached a record low of about 36.9 percent. But this year’s primary is slightly lower than 2010’s 42.8 percent turnout, when a contested Democratic primary for governor and a special election for Honolulu mayor bought 292,992 voters to the polls.

Turnout was highest in Honolulu and Hawaii counties, which both had mayoral contests. About 44.2 percent of registered voters cast ballots on Oahu, while 42.6 percent voted on Hawaii island.

Maui had the lowest turnout at 30.6 percent, followed by Kauai’s 39.2 percent.

The turnout figures also show absentee voting becoming more popular. Slightly less than half of all ballots — about 48.7 percent — were cast before Election Day.

In 2010, 44.4 percent of primary ballots were absentee, up from 2008 when 38.6 percent voted early.

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adri1456 wrote:
If you didn't vote, don't grumble.
on August 12,2012 | 07:16PM
aomohoa wrote:
Shame on all of you who didn't vote. It is an honor to be part of the process. You don't deserve to complain about anything involving our local government if you can't get off your couch to vote. They make it so easy now, You can even do absentee ballot if you can't get out of your house.
on August 12,2012 | 07:56PM
honopic wrote:
Just after 3 P.M., I went out the door to walk the mile or so to my polling place. A neighbor saw me and asked, "What, going walking?" I said, "No. Going vote." She asked, "Oh, was that today?" She's never been shy when expressing her opinions about what's wrong with our city and state government. The next time she does, I'm going to ask if she was able to make it to the polls before they closed at 6. I think I already know the answer. My response will be, "If you no vote, no can gripe. Period." People in some countries risk their lives for a chance to vote. But we can't even get half the folks here to do their civic duty? Auwe!
on August 12,2012 | 08:23PM
Wazdat wrote:
SAD stats hawaii, I guess they no care.
on August 12,2012 | 08:24PM
peanutgallery wrote:
Nothing new here. Majority of eligable voters have their hands stuck in the "give me" position, and their arses stuck in the, "let someone else do it" position. Pathetic.
on August 13,2012 | 03:10AM
After speaking with various people from all walks of life, some feel they can make a change, but MOST people are just disgusted with the lies that Politicans make. Cayatano for one, lied on his last term to be elected again and messed up the State workers, for one, they can never strike again. Abercrombe made a mistake in paying the State workers and now they are out of several hundred of dollars per month. Our economy is really messed up and we're hoping that the Politicians being voted into their office will be true to the Hawaii People.
on August 13,2012 | 03:14AM
loquaciousone wrote:
It took only 20 minutes of my time, and 19 minutes and 30 seconds of that was travel time, to vote on Saturday. I can't believe that 57% of the registered voters are so busy that they can't spare a half an hour.
on August 13,2012 | 04:15AM
bender wrote:
And if you vote absentee it takes even less effort. There's no excuse for the apathy.
on August 13,2012 | 05:40AM
smith2650 wrote:
The voter percentage should really be compared to eligible voters not registered. In Hawaii we have about 1 million eligible voters. In that light; 290,000 is really 29% or 1 in 4 of our eligible voting population is actually making the poll decisions for our state.
on August 13,2012 | 04:29AM
honmani2 wrote:
You snooze, you lose.
on August 13,2012 | 07:13AM
pakeheat wrote:
Another record we should be proud that we rank near the bottom for voter turnout, LOL.
on August 13,2012 | 07:32AM
Kapakahi wrote:
I vote and actively urge others to vote as well. But I disagree with those who condemn those who do not vote. A non-voter is asking, "Why bother?," and the rest of us do not appear to have a convincing answer.

Some say "people have died for your right to vote" and that sounds hyper-patriotic, but soldiers have died for centuries, long before democracies were established and soldiers kill and die fighting in armies led by kings and dictators as much as by elected leaders. Do veterans vote more often than non-vets? I don't know.

The state has made registering to vote and the act of voting about as easy as possible, and we do not have laws on the books designed to suppress voting, though local Republicans, following ALEC's national strategy, have introduced the same bills as their national Republican comrades to require RealID for voting--in full knowledge such laws will suppress voting by low-income, minority and elderly voters. But we have not enacted such laws.

I have to conclude non-voters remain unconvinced choosing between politicians will have a positive impact on their lives. So if non-voters have "failed" to do their civic duty, so too have the candidates, the media and those of us who DO vote FAILED to provide a persuasive rationale for participating in elections. The Dems denounce the Republicans and the Republicans denounce the Dems and the cynics say all politicians are crooks and liars. And the non-voter, surveying all this, says "Maybe you're all right," and sees no reason to vote for any of them.

The slogan, "Don't vote, it only encourages them," is as American as apple pie. And, looking at the data, seems to have the backing of a majority of our citizenry.

on August 13,2012 | 09:15AM
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