Cacophonous Caucuses Cause Confusion

Barbara Harness
Barbara Harness
Kelly Harness
Kelly Harness

MANOA (KHNL) -- While the record turnout means high interest in this election, it caused major frustration among voters. Many say caucus locations were simply unprepared for the large number of people who showed up. Some voters describe the experience as pandemonium.

A historic presidential race has Hawaii Democrats fired up.

"Very excited because I was able to take both my mom and my daughter," said Barbara Harness, a 44-year-old nurse who lives in Hawaii Kai. "So there were three generations of women going to vote yesterday, and it was exciting because my daughter just turned 18 in November."

But that excitement turned to frustration as scenes like this were repeated across the islands.

"When we got inside the cafeteria area at Koko Head Elementary, it was nothing but mass confusion," said Harness.

Confusion because of a record turnout. The Democratic Party quickly ran out of ballots.

"We did see someone handing out simple yellow pieces of paper from a Steno pad," said Harness. "If I had known that, I would've gone home and got my own Steno pad. Does it really count or does it not count?

Many first time voters also participated last night. For some, it was a bad introduction to our democratic process.

Harness' daughter Kelly turned eighteen a couple of months ago. The excitement about voting in her first election soon evaporated.

"I was so frustrated and angry that they could let this be this way," said the University of Hawaii at Manoa freshman. "It was so unorganized."

Still they plan to continue participating in our political process.

"Well I definitely received a bad first impression of voting but I will vote in the regular election," said Kelly Harness. "I feel like I have that responsibility to our country, so I will exercise that right."

They hope problems are ironed out between now and November.

Democratic Party officials said they are working to fix those problems and have adequate staffing and supplies.