Officials to change protocols after long lines, headaches at Maui’s only voter service center

A line snaked around the front of the Velma McWayne Santos Community Center in Wailuku Saturday. It was the only place on Maui to vote in-person.
Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 6:16 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 15, 2022 at 11:41 PM HST
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WAILUKU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In-person voting went smoothly in most places on primary election day — except for on Maui.

A line snaked around the front of the Velma McWayne Santos Community Center in Wailuku on Saturday.

It was the only place to vote in person on the Valley Isle on the day of the primary.

“There’s lines and lines and lines and lines of people here when all of the polling places should have been opened,” said Kahului resident Adesina Ogunelese.

Voters received their ballots by mail three weeks ago — and Maui election officials admit they were not ready for the crowd.

“This was unexpected, yeah,” said Maui Deputy County Clerk James Krueger.

Voters said it took about an hour to get to voting booth.

“There’s a lot of senior citizens here, some came with walkers,” Maui County Council Vice Chair Keani Rawlins-Fernandez said on Saturday.

“One of the clerks told me that a couple of them collapsed earlier this morning because of the heat.”

On top of the heat and long lines, several people wanted to know why they had to fill out a Voter Service Center Registration Affidavit. It asked for the voter’s name, address, driver’s license number, state ID number, or last four digits of their Social Security number, along with numerous other questions.

Some said the detailed formed caused the long lines and felt like an effort to suppress voting.

Matthew Broderick from Paia left but later came back.

“I came earlier actually. But there was such a big line, I couldn’t wait. So, I had to come back.”

He got there at 6:58 p.m. That’s just two minutes before the polling doors closed.

Elections officials eventually did away with the detailed form to help speed up the process.

“We had some voters who weren’t happy with our process. But since then, we worked on implementing a different process to help people get in and vote and be on their way for the day,” Krueger said.

State elections officials say the affidavit is a standard procedure in all counties for walk-in voting.

Krueger said they tried to call in more volunteers to help, but no one came.

“I was disappointed in the way the State Elections Office did not keep the public informed about what was happening,” said Kula resident Dick Mayer. “They only have two jobs to do and they only have to do it every two years – the primary election and the general election.”

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