A record number of early voters cast ballots - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

A record number of early voters cast ballots

Eri Ackman Eri Ackman
Peter Ackman Peter Ackman
Renata Norris Renata Norris

By Leland Kim - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) -  A record number of voters have cast their ballots early.  Thirty-one states, including Hawaii, have early voting.  And some political experts say, early voters could decide the race, especially in key battleground states.

In the battleground state of North Carolina, more than 1.2 million early voters have already cast their ballots.  That represents about 20 percent of registered voters.  And here in Hawaii, early voting is a key strategy for both Senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Barack Obama (D-Illinois).

A steady flow of early voters packed Honolulu Hale midday Tuesday.  Among them, Renata Norris of Mililani.

"I think it actually is important because then you can go when you can go and you can make sure you get there as opposed to voting on Election Day," she said.  "Smething might come up, your car might break down, you don't know what's going to happen.  You might not make it to the polling place."

Hawaii campaigns for Senators McCain and Obama bank on early voters, to shore up core support.

"Most campaigns have a strategy of early voting and it is one of McCain's campaign ideas, to push the word out," said Jimmy Kuroiwa, a McCain campaign supporter.

"We try to do what we call ‘Bank the Votes' as early as possible, and it's something that we've done across the state, for the last two to three weeks," said Andy Winer, Obama campaign state director.  "We've made literally tens of thousands of phone calls to encourage to vote early."

Husband and wife Peter and Eri Ackman of Hawaii Kai did their civic duty, voting Tuesday afternoon, but their household is as divided as voters in the battleground states.

"And who are you voting for?" asked KHNL.

"John McCain," answered Peter Ackman.

"Who am I voting for?" asked Eri Ackman.  "Barack Obama for President."

The Ackmans say they can separate politics from their marriage.

"It happens because we can talk freely to each other and makes the marriage work better," said Peter Ackman.

"Agree to disagree?" asked KHNL.

"Agree to disagree," answered Peter Ackman.

"That's a difference of opinion, but I'll allow him back in the house after we vote today," said Eri Ackman.

And for Norris, she's not only exercising her civic duty, she's giving her daughter Elise a civics lesson.

"She doesn't even know what the word vote meant until today so I was explaining to her and showing her why I had to go and why I was picking who," said Norris.  "So that was the reason why I brought her along."

Voting early and making their voices heard a week before Election Day.

Here in Hawaii, election officials are expecting 29,00 to 30,000 people to cast their ballots early.  You can vote at any of Oahu's five locations and you don't have to go to the polling station near your home.

You'll find those locations on our website KHNL.com.  Early voting continues until Saturday from 8 am to 4 pm.

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