Polling Sites Quiet as Absentee Voting Gains Popularity

By Bernardo, Rosemarie; Nakaso, Dan | Honolulu Star - Advertiser, August 12, 2018 | Go to article overview

Polling Sites Quiet as Absentee Voting Gains Popularity


Bernardo, Rosemarie, Nakaso, Dan, Honolulu Star - Advertiser


BRUCE ASATO / BASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM Volunteer election day officials opened ballots on Friday in a hallway on the chamber level of the state Capitol.

DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM There were 17 same-day registrants at Manoa Elementary School, and their registrations were confirmed in five to 15 minutes, said precinct chairman Robyn Loudermilk.

MARIE HOBRO / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER Increased mail-in and early voting meant mostly light work at polling stations on Saturday. Many booths were empty at Kapolei High School.

BRUCE ASATO / BASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM Volunteers worked on the floor of the Senate chamber.

With more absentee mail-in ballots sent to voters this year compared to the last primary election two years ago, precinct officials on Saturday reported a quiet day across Oahu with fewer lines and fewer problems.

“It’s slow, very slow,” said Virginia Maimon, precinct chairwoman at the Campbell High School polling site in Ewa Beach. “This is my fourth election cycle, and this is the slowest I can ever remember.”

This year, elections officials sent out more than 238,000 absentee ballots, compared to more than 191,000 for the 2016 primary election, said Nedielyn Bueno, voter services section head for the state Office of Elections.

The result was that more ballots were accounted for by 3 p.m. Saturday than at the same time during the last primary election: 34 percent versus 27 percent in 2016, Bueno said.

She called Saturday’s election “pretty quiet.” At many of Oahu’s 144 polling sites, that meant volunteer precinct workers had a relatively slow day.

In previous elections, voters stood in line to cast ballots at Kapolei High School. But on Saturday, no lines materialized and the 14 volunteer precinct workers outnumbered the number of voters present for most of the morning.

“I’ve never seen it this slow,” said volunteer Shirley Yamauchi, a teacher at Kapolei Middle School.

Four volunteers did not show up at Campbell High School, but they weren’t needed.

The precinct was armed with eight boxes of unmarked ballots. By 3 p.m., precinct workers needed to open only two of them.

For the first time, people across Hawaii’s 235 polling sites were allowed to both register to vote — and vote. …

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