HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Get in. Get out. Get counted. Thousands of voters across the state decided to cast their ballots early this year. Many expect long lines for Saturday's election, so to avoid them, they endured somewhat shorter lines today.
Early voting across Hawaii is now closed. You'll now have to wait until the polls open Saturday morning now to cast your ballot.
Sisters Jasmine Farina and Joceline Aguinaldo didn't just skip their lunch hour to vote. "I took the day off!" says Joceline. Like hundreds at Honolulu city hall, they wanted to beat the crowds and knew, going in, who they were voting for.
Aguinaldo chose her favorite candidate after watching Tuesday's mayoral debate on Hawaii News Now. Without naming names, she says, "I thought he was very sincere, and he sure knows what he's talking about, so that made my decision clearly."
But, after months of listening to the candidates stump, some voters sound like they're battling a bout of campaign fatigue. "Sometimes, I just get tired of the telephone calls, campaigning through the telephone," says sister Jasmine Farina.
Early voter Greg Kugle adds, "It's been interesting and fun, but yeah, I'm ready for it to taper off and then be done and take down the signs for the next round."
That could be part of the reason residents are so anxious to get their ballots cast.
And it's not just early walk-ins. Absentee voting has drawn a lot of interest on Oahu. A record number of voters has requested absentee ballot applications. 87 thousand applications have been mailed out since July.
"We've never done that in a primary election before," says Glen Takahashi, Honolulu's elections administrator. "It looks more like general election type numbers."
By the end of Wednesday, more than 26 thousand people, statewide, had cast their ballots early. That number will certainly jump once Thursday's early voting figures come in. For Kay Lorraine, who is Jewish, she had no choice but to vote early. "Yom Kippur is on Saturday so the voting is on a holiday in which Jews must be in Temple."
Officials say this is the first primary in three election cycles where they've seen an uptick in voters, and they expect a big turnout Saturday. Polls open Saturday morning at 7:00 a.m. and close at 6:00 p.m. Absentee ballots must be received by 6 p.m. Saturday.