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Early, absentee voting on Oahu mixed


    Early walk-in voting has opened at Honolulu Hale, Monday, August 1, 2016.

This story has been corrected. See below.

Unlike two years ago, no hurricanes or tropical storms are in today’s primary election day forecast, but there’s a good chance of low voter turnout nevertheless.

In the 2014 primary election, a majority of voters — 51 percent — for the first time voted early or by mail-in ballot. That election was hampered by Tropical Storm Iselle, which closed two voting precincts in Puna, forcing the vote there to be continued six days later.

This year, with little more than breezy tradewinds and occasional showers in the forecast, early walk-in voting was way down on Oahu compared to 2014 and 2012, while early mail-in votes were up slightly.

The change in both weather and voting preference left Scott Nago, the state’s chief election officer, uncertain about what kind of turnout to expect when the first ballots are scheduled to be released at 7 tonight, an hour after the polls close at 6 p.m.

“We’re supposed to have good weather, but I have no guess on turnout,” Nago said. “Either we’re going to have a big turnout at the polls or a low turnout this election.”

The highest-profile race is the contest between Mayor Kirk Caldwell and challengers Charles Djou, a former city councilman and congressman, and former Mayor Peter Carlisle.

An outright winner must gain a simple majority of tonight’s votes, or there will be a runoff among the top two vote-getters.

Only 9,925 people took advantage of absentee walk-in voting on Oahu, the Honolulu City Clerk’s office reported Friday.

That’s a 12.9 percent drop from the 14,859 votes cast at Honolulu Hale and Kapolei Hale during the 2014 primary. In the primary of 2012, the last time Oahu got to vote for U.S. president and Honolulu mayor, 12,941 absentee walk-in ballots were cast.

City Clerk Glen Takahashi said the percent of absentee walk-in participants suggests people are becoming more familiar and comfortable with the idea of voting via the mailbox.

The city had collected 83,106 absentee mail-in ballots out of 129,166 ballots that were sent out to Oahu voters by request, Takahashi said. Absentee mail-in ballots received by 6 p.m. Saturday will be counted. He advised those still holding onto mail-in ballots to not mail them, but to drop them off at any official precinct booth.

To match the 82.5 percent of absentee mail Oahu ballots cast in 2014, the city would need to see 22,572 more ballots received by 6 p.m.

Overall, 202,728 Oahu voters cast ballots in the 2014 primary, about 43.5 percent of those registered. To match that percentage of votes cast, a total of 210,138 people, out of 483,076 registered voters on the island, would need to cast ballots.

Primary election day voting at precincts across the state runs from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Hawaii has 247 precincts statewide but only 233 polling places because some communities of 500 people or fewer in places such as Niihau and Kalaupapa are automatically sent mail-in ballots, Nago said.

To find your polling site, visit the Office of Election’s website at

The polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. but anyone in line at 6 p.m. will be allowed to vote, Nago said.

The smallest crowds tend to be from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

“You want to avoid showing up when the polls open, the lunch crowd and when the polls close,” Nago said. “Those are the busiest times.”

Voters are encouraged to bring government-issued identification to speed up the voting process, but ID is not required, Nago said. Voters without ID will have to provide information to verify they’re registered to vote, he said.

His office expects to release five election returns starting at 7 p.m.

Based on the 2014 primary election, the 7 p.m. printout of voting results represented 65 percent of absentee ballots but no votes cast at the precincts. The 8:30 p.m. printout included 3 percent of precinct voting and 74 percent of absentee ballots. The 10 p.m. printout had 80 percent of the absentee ballots and 99 percent of the precincts. The 11:30 p.m. printout contained 86 percent of absentee ballots and 100 percent of precincts.

An expected 1 a.m. printout should account for all absentee and precinct ballots, Nago said.

Staff writer Gordon Y.K. Pang contributed to this report.


Glen Takahashi is the Honolulu city clerk. His last name was misspelled in an earlier version of this story and in Saturday’s print edition.

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  • Really not much to vote for. Believe the mayor’s race and my state representative race are the only competitive races. I think both Tulsi and Brian will face token if any opposition today. Would not be surprised if turnout is light today. People should vote though.

  • They setup the polling place at Honolulu Hale and hired staff, but nobody seems to have come. Maybe they are still sleeping or playing with their kids.

  • It is easy to vote now.There are no excuses not to vote. If someone does not vote they have no right to complain.If the apathetic 50% did vote we would see how people really feel and there might be some changes. Not going to happen in this lazy state. How sad.

  • Do you remember 1987 ?

    I had forgotten about all of this. Makes this an important point for those who try to blame everything on Bush.
    Do you remember 1987 when the Senators were giving Ollie North such a bad time? This brings it all into perspective. I thought you might be interested in this forgotten bit of information.

    It was 1987! At a lecture the other day they were playing an old news video of Lt. Col. Oliver North testifying at the Iran-Contra hearings during the Reagan Administration. There was Ollie in front of God and country getting the third degree, but what he said was stunning!

    He was being drilled by a senator, “did you not recently spend close to $60,000 for a home security system?”

    Ollie replied, “yes Sir, I did”.

    The senator continued, trying to get a laugh out of the audience,

    “Isn’t that just a little excessive?”

    “No sir” continued Ollie.

    “No, and why not?” the senator asked.

    “Because the lives of my family and I were
    threatened sir”.

    “Threatened? By whom?” the senator questioned.

    “By a Muslim terrorist sir”. Ollie answer.

    “Terrorist? What terrorist could possibly scare you
    that much?”

    “His name is Osama bin Laden, sir”, Ollie replied.

    At this point the senator tried to repeat the name, but couldn’t pronounce it, which most people back then probably couldn’t. A couple of people laughed at the attempt. Then the senator continued. “Why are you so afraid of this man?”, the senator asked.

    “Because sir, he is the most evil person alive that I know of”, Ollie answered, “And the Muslims are trying to take over America and destroy it from the inside out and putting their people into our political offices.

    “And what do you recommend we do about him?”, asked the senator.

    “Well, sir, if it was up to me, I would recommend that an assassin team be formed to eliminate him and his men from the face of the earth.”

    The senator disagreed with this approach, and that was all that was shown of the clip. By the way, that
    senator was Al Gore! Also: Terrorist pilot Mohammad Atta blew up a bus in Israel in 1986. The Israelis captured, tried and imprisoned him. As part of the Oslo agreement with the Palestinians in 1993, Israel had to agree to release so-called, “political prisoners”. However, the Israelis would not release any with blood on their hands.

    The American President at the time, Bill Clinton, and his Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, insisted that all prisoners be released. Thus Mohammad Atta was freed and eventually thanked us by flying an airplane into Tower One of the World Trade Center. This was reported by many of the American TV networks at the time that the terrorists were first identified. It was censored in the US from all, pass this on!

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