Hawaii voters find short lines, few problems at general election polling sites

‘You can’t grumble if you don’t go and vote.’

Voting now underway as polls open across the state

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii voters headed to the polls Tuesday to make their voices heard in races for governor, Congress and local elections.

Polls statewide opened by 7:25 a.m., and voters largely reported encountering short lines.

While polls were set to close at 6 p.m., more than two dozen polling sites remained open at about 6:30 p.m. It wasn’t immediately clear why the polling sites — all on Oahu — were still open.

Earlier in the day, technical problems that were reported at multiple polling places ― including Mililani High, Ilima Intermediate and Helemano Elementary schools ― were quickly fixed, elections officials said.

Christy Rios voted at Mililani High and said it was smooth sailing.

“I came early this morning because I wanted to beat the rush,” she said. “It was a good experience."

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Rios said she always votes ― and always feels good when she’s finished.

“Every vote counts,” she said. “I know a lot of people don’t like to come out. We have the lowest voter turnout in the country. But you know what? You can’t grumble if you don’t go and vote.”

Nuuanu resident Elizabeth Sneed said she tries to help people understand the power of the ballot.

“I think it’s very important to vote,” she said.

“People think their vote doesn’t matter. And what I tell people is maybe at like higher level elections, such as presidential elections, it may not matter. But at the local level, it really does matter.”

Despite upticks in voting nationally, experts say turnout is expected to stay low in Hawaii this election. State elections officials say about 180,000 people cast their ballot early this year, either by mail or at early polling sites.

That’s despite a number of key races on the ballot this year, including a gubernatorial election.

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