City officials today urged Oahu voters who’ve not yet returned their completed election ballots to head to Honolulu Hale, Kapolei Hale or one of 10 other designated drop-off sites by 7 p.m. Tuesday so that their votes count.
“This is one of the most pivotal elections we’ve had in modern history, if not the most pivotal,” Mayor Kirk Caldwell said of Tuesday’s General Election in which a new U.S.. president and a Honolulu mayor will be chosen.
Voters both locally and across the United States are turning in ballots in record numbers. “I kinda call it the 100-year flood in new voters,” Caldwell said.
City Clerk Glen Takahashi said that at last count, roughly 342,000 ballots have been received from Oahu voters. An additional 12,000 people have voted walk-in style at Honolulu Hale and Kapolei Hale, which are designated voter service centers.
Oahu residents who are not registered to vote but would like to do so should visit either Honolulu Hale or Kapolei up until 4:30 p.m. today or from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. They should take along a Hawaii driver license, state identification card or other identification that shows they are Oahu residents.
Takahashi said his office is anticipating lines at the voter service centers.
The roughly 354,000 ballots recorded so far is a new record. The previous highest number of votes case in a general election was the 308,443 votes recorded in 2008, the year Hawaii-born Barack Obama was first elected president.
This is the first general election in Hawaii to use a Vote By Mail procedure where all verified registered voters are sent ballots. Elections official said it’s one of the reasons they think there is a high turnout this year.
Caldwell said Honolulu police officers are monitoring the voter service centers amid nationwide concerns about voter tampering and civil unrest on Tuesday.
City officials stressed that at this late date, ballots dropped into the United States Postal Service mailboxes won’t arrive in time to be counted and that they instead be placed in one of the designated drop boxes.
Besides Kapolei Hale and Honolulu Hale, designated drop boxes are located at Waianae District Park, Mililani Park and Ride, Neal S. Blaisdell Park, Kahuku Community Center / Kahuku District Park, Kaneohe District Park, Hawaii Kai Park and Ride, Bill Balfour Jr. Waipahu District Park, Kailua District Park, Kalihi Valley District Park and Kanewai Community Park.