More Oahu, Maui and Hawaii County voters have requested mail-in ballots this year compared with the 2008 primary election, but some voters in Hawaii Kai still had still not received their corrected absentee ballots as of yesterday.
About 87,000 Oahu voters asked for mail-in ballots this year, a 24 percent increase over the 70,000 mail-in ballots that are sent to Oahu voters in a typical primary election, city elections Administrator Glen Takahashi said.
"There seems to be some general excitement in the primary election," Takahashi said.
Maui and Big Island elections officials also said they are seeing increases in requests for mail-in ballots. Kauai elections officials did not return calls from the Star-Advertiser yesterday.
On Oahu, Hawaii Kai voters such as Kathryn Hallmark still had not received a new mail-in ballot yesterday after her original ballot failed to include candidates for the District 25 state Senate seat.
"I’m waiting for my replacement ballot," Hallmark said. Elections officials "said they sent a bunch of ballots on Monday," she said. "I’m worried it will even get here in time to be counted."
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Hallmark has been voting by mail-in ballot for the past 10 years or so to avoid Election Day hassles at her assigned polling place, Hahaione Elementary School.
"It’s too hot and too dusty," Hallmark said. "There are usually parking issues and they have no air con in that little cafeteria. I insist on voting because I have an opinion. But it sounds like this whole election is just so poorly run."
With state elections officials closing 97 of 339 polling places around the islands this year, Hawaii Kai voter Kathie Young wasn’t sure yesterday how to get her vote counted.
Young usually votes at the Japan-American Institute of Management Science, known as the JAIMS polling place. But the JAIMS site is closed for the primary election and Young did not know yesterday that she is supposed to vote at Holy Trinity School instead.
She had requested an absentee mail-in ballot for the first time for this year’s primary election. So far, Young is not impressed with the process.
After she received an original mail-in ballot without the District 25 Senate candidates, "I called to inquire about a replacement and they said it should be here late this week," Young said.
When the replacement still had not arrived by yesterday, Young tried to be understanding.
"I guess glitches happen," she said. "I hope next time they get it right."
Big Island voters requested 7,904 mail-in ballots this year, compared to 7,708 in 2008, said Pat Nakamoto, Hawaii County’s elections program administrator
As of yesterday, 6,545 Big Island voters also had cast ballots in person through early walk-in voting, Nakamoto said. The number of early walk-in voters seemed to be following the pace of the 8,681 voters who cast ballots through early walk-in voting in the 2008 primary election, Nakamoto said.
"We may get close this year, but I don’t think we’ll pass 2008," Nakamoto said.
In Maui County, 8,897 voters had requested mail-in ballots — a big jump over 2008 when only 5,229 ballots were mailed out.
As of Tuesday, 1,952 people had voted in early walk-in voting in Maui County. Elections officials saw a total of 2,537 people voting in early walk-in voting in 2008.