Majority of Hawaii County primary ballots submitted by mail

Majority of Hawaii County primary ballots submitted by mail
Hundreds of thousands sent in their ballots for Hawaii's first mail-in primary election. (Source: Hawaii News Now)

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) — More than 91% of the over 65,000 votes cast in the Hawaii County primary election were sent through the mail, a Big Island election official said.

The primary election Aug. 8 also included about 5,000 ballots, or 7%, submitted at drop boxes, West Hawaii Today reported Monday.

Hawaii County Clerk Jon Henricks said about 1,200 votes, a little more than 1%, were cast in-person on election day at the Big Island’s two voter service centers.

Henricks provided the election data last week to the Hawaii County Council’s Committee on Governmental Relations and Economic Development at the request of Hilo Councilwoman Sue Lee Loy.

Henricks said the act passed by the 2019 Legislature resulted in a significant adjustment from past traditional elections, affording options for casting ballots, including voting by mail, early walk-in voting and in-person voting at one of 43 polling places on the island.

“To go from those opportunities to essentially where I would say most voters, if not all, are placed into first category of voting by mail, it was a big change,” Henricks said.

Leading up to the primary, the county registered 9,000 new voters, while previous primaries had increases of about 3,000 to 5,000 first-time voters.

The county’s registered voters increased to 120,000. About 54% of those cast ballots in the Aug. 8 election, an increase of about 21,000 from 2018, Henricks said.

The U.S. Postal Service delivered 59,000 votes cast by mail to the county to be counted, Henricks said.

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