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Lack of ballots to count leaves Hawaii election volunteers at home

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@ STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Carts full of ballots wait to be transferred upstairs for processing on Aug. 3. State elections officials today are expecting to leave another shift of volunteer ballot counters home again because of a lack of ballots to count ahead of Saturday’s party primary elections.

    CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@ STARADVERTISER.COM

    Carts full of ballots wait to be transferred upstairs for processing on Aug. 3. State elections officials today are expecting to leave another shift of volunteer ballot counters home again because of a lack of ballots to count ahead of Saturday’s party primary elections.

State elections officials today are expecting to leave another shift of volunteer ballot counters home again because of a lack of ballots to count ahead of Saturday’s party primary elections.

“The (first) shift may end early today and the second shift may be canceled,” said Nedielyn Bueno, spokesperson for the state Office of Elections. “There’s no reason if there are no ballots to process.”

Previously the Office of Elections canceled second shifts of volunteer ballot counters on Saturday and again Wednesday at the state Capitol.

As of Wednesday, over 234,000 ballots have been mailed back, dropped off at collection sites or cast in person — out of 730,000 ballots that were sent to registered voters two weeks ago.

Election officials for months have declined to estimate how many votes they expect to be cast in Hawaii’s second election cycle featuring widespread mail-in balloting, along with vastly reduced numbers of in-person voting locations.

Hawaii traditionally lags the rest of the country in voter participation but set new records in the 2020 election year that included the election of President Joe Biden over his predecessor, Donald Trump.

But 2022 is a so-called “mid-term election year” with no marquee presidential race, so turnout is expected to be lower for Saturday’s primaries and again in the Nov. 8 general election compared to 2020.

Mail-in ballots can be dropped off at in-person sites across the state through election day and voters will be allowed to register and vote in person until polls close on 7 p.m. Saturday.

For more information, visit elections.hawaii.gov.

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