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Absentee voting up 12 percent so far in primary

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    Registered voters beat Election Day crowds Monday by going to early-voting locations like Hono­lulu Hale. Early voting started Monday morning.

Absentee voting through mail and walk-in sites is up more than 12 percent for Hawaii’s primary election, with nearly 160,000 people casting ballots early and even more absentees expected with Saturday night’s results.

An Associated Press analysis of early voting in all four counties shows the increase in early voting easily outpaced a 1.4 percent increase in registration over the 2012 primary election. The increases in individual counties for mail and early walk-in voting were:

— 34.5 percent in Maui (15,533 absentee votes).

— 25.8 percent in Kauai (11,066 absentee votes).

— 11 percent in Honolulu (more than 109,858 absentee votes).

— 1.6 percent in Hawaii County (23,476 votes).

Voting on the Big Island has been affected by a tropical storm that hit the island early Friday. The storm missed the other islands.

It’s unclear whether voters preferred absentee ballots to voting Saturday — 49 percent of turnout was early voting in 2012.

The number of absentee ballots is expected to increase because mail-in votes were allowed to be turned in at polling places until they closed at 6 p.m. HST. The early walk-in voting includes those who voted at one of nine sites around the islands from July 28 through Aug. 7

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