Large turnout spurs confusion, frustration at Democratic caucus sites

Large turnout spurs confusion, frustration at Democratic caucus sites
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A large turnout led to large problems during Hawaii's Democratic presidential preference poll on Saturday.

In fact, confusion and voter frustration created just as much buzz as who won, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Less than two hours after voting began at 1 p.m., Hawaii News Now was inundated with Facebook posts, emails and phone calls from frustrated residents who were unable to vote.

"I was very disappointed," said Waikiki resident Barbara Clemens. "You really want to be a part of the democratic process and be a good citizen and you get fired up about that, then you come down and after a couple hours of trying, it just wasn't going to happen."

Clemens was re-directed three times to different polling sites, missing her window to vote, after a letter she received from the Clinton campaign initially told her to cast her ballot at Waikiki Elementary School.

Kaneohe resident Robert Woliver tried voting after work, but was denied at his Key Project precinct for showing up two hours after the doors were closed.

"I had no idea there were only going to run it for an hour," Woliver said. "Sounds like more of a classroom president election than a presidential campaign."

The Democratic Party of Hawaii website states there is no official end time for the presidential preference poll, but advised people to arrive before 1 p.m.

"The line's gone, it's closed." said Hawaii Democratic Party Chair Stephanie Ohigashi. "If people trickle in, that's really something that we cannot do anything about. It's over."

The problems weren't limited to Oahu.

Big Island resident JoAnn Kalinowski missed out on casting her ballot after officials at Pahoa High School took two hours to verify her voter ID.

"They had thousands of people showing up to all funnel into one location that was too small," Kalinowski said. "There were no signs or directions of where to stand in this line or this line."

State Democratic Party officials say Saturday's turnout wasn't as high as the record 37,000 votes cast in 2008, when Hawaii-born Barack Obama made his first bid for the White House. On Saturday, a total of 33,716 ballots were recorded.

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