Maui County Clerk Danny Mateo said he hadn’t received an official tally of Saturday’s primary voters as of about 2:30 p.m., but has been hearing that polling places countywide have been slow.
“So far it’s kind of quiet, really,” Mateo said. “I’m not sure why, it’s not raining or windy. Where is everybody? I’m hoping people in the afternoon get the urge to run out and vote.”
He said no major problems were being reported.
“We’ve been preparing for a while and we haven’t experienced anything that would disrupt or disturb voting,” Mateo said. “We’ve had some minor issues, like people showing up at the wrong poling place, et cetera, but nothing major. Those are quick fixes.”
He said the county sent out more than 18,500 absentee ballots to voters on Maui, Molokai and Lanai, and as of last count about two days ago, about 12,000 had been returned.
In Central Maui, primary voters were trickling in slower than usual to Pomaikai Elementary School in Maui Lani.
“In the past, this precinct has had one of the highest voter turnouts, and we usually have a line out the door before we open. Today, our first voter didn’t show up until 7:15 and we haven’t had a line yet,” Stacey Moniz, precinct chairperson for the polling site, said around noon Saturday.
“It could be the weather. So we’re telling people as they come in that we’re grateful that they’re voting today.”
Husband and wife Nyles and Donelle Sakuma of Waikapu, who both teach, said they usually vote by absentee ballot.
“But we just ran out of time, so it’s a good thing the weather held up,” Donelle Sakuma, a teacher at Pomaikai Elementary, said.
Waikapu resident Tim Hodgens Jr., a police officer, had the morning off from work and said he made voting a priority.
“With the storm, I’ve been working 16-hour days, but I made sure I could come down and vote,” Hodgens said outside Pomaikai Elementary.
Several voters said they supported Maui boy Shan Tsutsui’s bid for lieutenant governor.
“Shan really knows his community. He comes to football games, we see him at bon dances,” said Waikapu resident Cathy Ikeuchi, who works in the kitchens at the Sheraton Maui. “He’s been a real supporter of our schools, and when he comes to help at a community event, he’s elbow to elbow with us, helping out.”
Meanwhile, Gov. Neil Abercrombie didn’t seem to be popular with voters at Pomaikai.
“Our governor now is …” Waikapu resident Gail Jordan said with a sigh. “The way he took advantage of the storm was just appalling. That was upsetting, his politicking.”
Gail and her husband, Hank, said they voted for Republican gubernatorial candidate Duke Aiona.
“We supported him in the last election. We like his view on issues,” said Hank Jordan. “He seems well balanced and level headed.”
Eric Correa said he voted for Abercrombie’s Democratic challenger David Ige.
“I think Abercrombie had his four years already,” said Correa, a police officer. “(Ige) comes with a lot of experience as a state senator. Abercrombie — I don’t know — he just seemed like when he got in office, he criticized Linda Lingle but he continued a lot of her bad budget decisions. He didn’t keep a lot of his campaign promises.”