Hawaii elections officials close 97 polling places

HONOLULU (AP) - Even the president of the League of Women Voters of Hawaii isn't sure where her polling place is this year.

Pearl Johnson had voted for years at Pauoa Elementary School in Honolulu. But after the state decided to close 97 polling places, she thinks she's now supposed to vote at Kawananakoa Middle School.

Citing staffing shortages and budget cuts, election officials reduced the number of polling places from 339 to 242 -- with 137 left on Oahu, 40 in Maui County, 19 on the Big Island and 17 in Kauai County.

Only 42 percent of Hawaii's registered voters cast ballots in the last presidential midterm primary election in 2006.

Johnson fears the turnout could be even worse for the September 18 primary as a result of the reduction in polling places.

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