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Wednesday, October 20, 2004



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RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Voters cast their ballots at Honolulu Hale yesterday, the first day of absentee voting for the Nov. 2 general election.




Early walk-in
voting opens
on brisk note

Voters head to polling places
around town determined to
support their chosen candidates


Meet the decided voters.

While this election season may turn on the votes of the as-yet undecided, those who know whom they want are already having their say.


art

Absentee walk-in voting opened yesterday at City Hall, Pearlridge and Windward malls and Kapolei Hale.

Voting was brisk and just a bit disharmonious.

At Pearlridge, Linda and Daniel Chock chuckled and announced: "We always cancel each other's votes."

"I'm a Democrat, and he's a Republican," explained Linda Chock, a retired state social worker. "But we still love each other."

Daniel Chock, a retired city employee, said while he and his wife disagreed on the vote for president -- he's for Bush, she's for John Kerry -- they agreed on voting for Mufi Hannemann for mayor.

"We live in the area and Mufi represented the area, so I feel we know him and he has more experience," Linda Chock said.

Another voter at Pearlridge, Lorri Crockett, who described herself as a Republican -- "but I was raised a Democrat" -- said she had voted for mayoral candidate Duke Bainum.

"I had the opportunity to meet him and I found him to be very credible," Crockett said.

She also voted for Bush, saying his invasion of Iraq was the right thing to do.

"He had the guts to go in there and do something about Saddam," Crockett said. "I don't care if there were no chemical weapons or biological weapons to be found, that doesn't matter; it was the lives that were being taken -- all those women and children being killed, somebody needed to do something about it,"

At Windward Mall, Carolina and Bernard Soriano, who both voted for Bainum, split their votes for president -- she voted for Kerry and he voted for Bush.

"I voted for Kerry because I know he is well-off, so he doesn't need to cheat," said Carolina Soriano, a retired certified public accountant.

Bernard Soriano voted for Reagan and Bush previously and gave his vote yesterday again to Bush. "But I look at the person, not the party," Soriano said. "I also voted for (former President Jimmy) Carter and (U.S. Sen. Dan) Inouye.

"I voted for Bush, because we have to back him up in Iraq," he added.

His wife said she voted for Bainum based on his ethnicity: "I voted for Bainum because I like haoles -- I'm not prejudiced. I hope Bainum does good."

Another voter, retired Honolulu firefighter Gary Chaffeen, said the mudslinging in the race for president triggered a protest vote. "I vote for someone I never heard of instead of these guys," Chaffeen said of Kerry and Bush.

"I am so disappointed in the mudslinging and rock throwing and smearing. It is beyond disappointing," Chaffeen said. "I voted against everybody. I'm for the guy who has no chance to show the two guys who have a chance."

But Donna Paauhau, a retired Verizon employee, said she was "a strong Christian" and voted her conscience.

"I followed the debates and there were some things that really spoke to me," Paauhau said. "I saw a lot of arrogance, so I wanted to vote and work for people who should be there -- President Bush."

At City Hall, Annie Deweese was voting for John Kerry because of his stand on abortion: "It boils down to the fact that I am a woman and I believe in the right to choose. I like what Kerry stands for."

Voters yesterday said they came to the polls prepared for the issues. Gladys Lunasco, a retired accountant, said she and her husband puzzled through the four state constitutional amendments.

"My husband and I saw the amendments printed in the paper," Lunasco said. "We read it and we cut it out to study.

"I told my husband we better read this or we go in the booth and stay one hour."

Sheri Fujimoto also reported doing all her homework before hitting the voting booth.

"I did a lot of research on the local candidates and for the national race. I watched all the debates and commentaries," Fujimoto, who works for First Hawaiian Bank, said.

While declining to say whom she voted for, Fujimoto said: "I live in Ewa Beach and I wanted to know how they will deal with the traffic problems. It will make a huge difference."

Absentee walk-in voting continues through Oct. 30, Mondays through Saturdays. Call your county clerk's office for more information.

State Elections Office
www.hawaii.gov/elections
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