Hawaii Democrats and Republicans staged last-gasp sign-waving sessions before the Democrats’ traditional Grand Rally in Hilo on Monday in the final buildup to today’s voting.
On Oahu, incumbent Mayor Kirk Caldwell and challenger former U.S. Rep. Charles Djou made their last face-to-face appeals to the electorate.
Across Hawaii today, voters head to the polls to cast ballots in perhaps the most acrimonious presidential election in modern history, an increasingly negative Honolulu mayoral race, three barely contested congressional races and a host of local races.
When: Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, but anyone who is standing in line at 6 p.m. will be allowed to vote. Election officials say voters can save time by voting during nonpeak hours, which are in the morning from 7:30 to 9:30 or in the afternoon from 1:30 to 3:30.
Where: Polling places typically are at a nearby public school cafeteria or community center. Voters who are unsure of where they should vote can locate their polling places by using the Office of Elections’ website at elections.hawaii.gov or calling 453-VOTE (8683).
What to bring: Acceptable identification for voters at the polls includes a valid photo ID such as a driver’s license or state ID, or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or government-issued document that shows your name and address.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. Voting results will be issued over the course of the night, starting soon after the last poll closes, with updated numbers at about 8:30, 10 and 11:30 p.m., according to the state Office of Elections.
In Honolulu on Monday, both Caldwell and Djou spent much of the day campaigning — shaking hands and waving signs. Both men said they believe the race is tight.
Caldwell, who was shaking hands in the parking lot of the Beretania Street Safeway, said an internal poll showed him ahead — but only slightly. “Of course, the only poll that matters is the one on Election Day,” the mayor said. He said he would continue to accentuate the positive through the end of his campaign.
Djou and about 20 supporters braved early afternoon rain and waved signs at Bishop and South Beretania streets.
Like Caldwell, Djou said he expected a close finish. “I think we’re doing well, and I look forward to the judgment of the people,” he said.
Voters gave him a good vibe during an around-the- island trolley blitz Sunday, even better than during his runs for Congress, he said. “Every single stop that we went to, the reaction was exceptionally positive.”
Across the state, along a busy Hilo thoroughfare Monday, about 15 supporters of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump planted American and Hawaii state flags as a display for afternoon motorists and were showered with both cheers and jeers for their efforts.
When a motorist at a traffic light cursed the Trump supporters, Ava Olson sprinted down the grass strip along the highway to shake and wave her Trump sign where the heckler couldn’t miss it.
Olson, 32, said she has experienced plenty of political pushback. When she told a friend she supports Trump, the friend at first thought Olson was kidding. When asked whether that friend is still a friend, Olson replied, “I don’t know.”
Hawaii Democrats, meanwhile, gathered a mile away at Aunty Sally’s Luau Hale in Hilo for the traditional election eve rally. Prominent Democrats, including U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, mingled with union members and campaign volunteers for a chili-and-rice dinner.
It is a given that Hawaii’s Democrats will emerge from the local campaigns with a firm grip on state politics, but Schatz said he will be glad to see an end to this year’s campaign season anyway.
“This campaign has been particularly exhausting for voters,” he said. “It is the least edifying, the least inspiring campaign in at least a generation, so we all have to work really hard to find the good in each other, to try to get to productive work and to lay down our arms and govern again. I don’t think there’s a single soul in the United States that wants this campaign to go on any longer.”
Voters can view sample ballots online at elections.hawaii.gov.
All polling places are compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, and most offer accessible parking. Voters needing help can request services at the voter assistance station at any polling place.
Voters who have requested and filled out mail-in absentee ballots but did not mail in those ballots can drop them off at any polling place in their county. Completed ballots that are postmarked today but are not received by the county clerk’s office by 6 p.m. today will not be accepted.