Polls close statewide, but long lines on Maui delay election results
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Primary election polls closed statewide at 7 p.m., but about 50 people remained in line at the Maui voter service center ― and that delayed the release of election results.
Most Hawaii voters submitted their ballots ahead of Saturday’s primary election, but some waited until the last-minute ― voting in person or dropping off their ballots.
Only Maui had long lines of people waiting to vote in person.
At the island’s only voter service center, at the Wailuku Community Center, lines started forming about 6:40 a.m. And by 7 p.m., when polls closed, dozens were still waiting to cast their ballot.
The last voter walked in and the doors closed at 7:30 p.m.
Kahului resident Adesina Ogunelese was among those who voted in person.
“I’m old school, I’m 72, and I always cast my vote in person because that’s what I’m used to,” Ogunelese said.
“Now they’ve switched to the mail-in system. But what they didn’t say was that they were only going to have two places where you could vote on the whole island!”
Voters were also streaming into Honolulu Hale and Kapolei Hale on Saturday to cast a ballot.
There weren’t any long lines, though.
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Waianae resident Tanya Fitzgerald was among those who dropped off her ballot Saturday at Kapolei Hale.
“We listened to all the interviews and all the debates. And then we did a lot of reading online,” Fitzgerald said. “We really literally made our decision today.”
Frankie Albano, of Kapolei, said he voted in person in the last two elections but likes the switch to mail-in.
“I wanted to be sure that my ballot is counted,” he said. “Usually, I go to the polling place, but it’s more convenient for us to just drop it.”
Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago said as of about 2 p.m., about 900 people had voted in person statewide. In-person voting continues until 7 p.m. and ballots are being accepted in drop boxes and at voter service centers.
Aloha Makekau, of Kapolei, has been voting since she was 18 and wanted to make sure her voice counts.
“I had to research everyone that was on the ballot that in my party that I’m voting today, and it took a while,” she said. “Especially when you go online, kupuna not too sharp here. So I did it. I found most of the candidates.”
The Hawaii primary features a number of hot races, including the Democratic and Republican contests for governor. Also on the ballot: Races for lieutenant governor, Congress, and Maui and Kauai mayor.
According to the City Clerk’s Office, about 177,000 Oahu voters had returned or cast their ballots as of Friday evening. Statewide, some 278,000 had voted as of Saturday morning.
City Clerk Glen Takahashi said that’s a little lower than two years ago, a presidential election year.
“But compared to four years ago, we’re making our way towards that number,” he said.
Takahashi says that total is roughly a third of the ballots that were mailed out, which again is about the normal pace for a mid-term primary. Another 10% of those ballots may come in Saturday.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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