Voters react to possible polling place closures

John Kahoonei III
John Kahoonei III
Kevin Cronin
Kevin Cronin

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

KALIHI (KHNL) - With voter turnout already low, some say the planned closures of more than 60 polling precincts in honolulu may turn more voters away.

"Convenient, walking distance right here," Kalihi resident John Kahoonei III said.

He's used to voting at Puuhale Elementary School. He's done so for nearly 10 years.

"I usually go early in the morning, I beat all of the congestion," he said.

But come next year, Puuhale Elementary and 65 other polling places may not open for voting.

"What a sad thing that they going close it down, been with us for a long time, especially the elderly people," Kahoonei said.

The state's chief election officer, Kevin Cronin tells us, in order to pay for the new voting machines, they may be forced to make the closures.

"The cost-savings is an issue that unfortunately we will not know and cannot know until the future, we know what voting machines are gonna cost," Cronin said.

One of the biggest concerns people have with the polls closing is that it'll cause more congestion when they go to vote, just like in the case here at Puuhale Elementary and at Kalakaua Middle School, where voters may be forced to vote at Farrington High School.

"Early in the morning, I get up, walking distance, the school is only two blocks down from where I live," Kahoonei said.

For him and others, it may take more effort to vote.

"Just hanging in there and that's what it's all about," he said.

Some voters we spoke to say they wouldn't mind going elsewhere to vote.

"There are ways that voters can minimize that impact by planning ahead," Cronin said.