With lessons learned from primary, Maui County gears up for in-person voting

More signage and more crowd control measures are up at the Voter Service Center in Wailuku.
Published: Nov. 7, 2022 at 5:51 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 7, 2022 at 7:19 PM HST
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WAILUKU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Although Voter Service Centers have been open for weeks now, Maui County election officials are preparing for a busy day of in-person voting on Tuesday.

On Monday, officials and volunteers were working to avoid problems they had during the primary election in August.

“We have a lot of signage out so that voters know this is where they need to be,” said Maui County Clerk Kathy Kaohu.

There were a lot more signs and more crowd control measures up at the Voter Service Center in Wailuku on Monday compared to the primary election.

“Today we’re seeing a robust increase in visitors and our kupuna are out in full force today too,” Kaohu said.

During the primary, a line snaked around the Velma McWayne Santos Community Center.

Kaohu said election officials hope to be better prepared this time.

At last check on Saturday, almost 27,000 voters had cast their ballots. Kaohu expects that number to surpass 30,000 by the end of Monday.

The race for mayor is expected to be a tight one.

Incumbent Michael Victorino is up against a tough challenger retired judge Richard Bissen.

“In Maui, we have some interesting situations because incumbents have not always won,” said Maui political analyst Dick Mayer.

Traditionally, it’s difficult to beat a sitting mayor. “Incumbents have real advantages. One is they have name recognition. They’re in office for several years,” Mayer said. “So, they have a lot of name recognition that goes out.”

But it turns out, that Maui politics are not so traditional.

Out of Maui’s past four mayors, only one was re-elected — Alan Arakawa — when he ran for mayor the second time in 2011. Arakawa only served one term when he first ran for mayor in 2003.

“We’ve had now three cases,” Mayer said. “Kimo Apana, Charmaine Tavares and Alan Arakawa, all of whom lost after one term.”

Bissen beat Victorino in the primary, but there is still no telling what will happen on Tuesday.