Polling stations see a 'light' turnout and several glitches
Voting got off to a rough start yesterday amid what state chief elections officer Dwayne Yoshina described as "light" turnout on election day.
By the end of the night, with just a few ballots left to count, the tally was 276,157 votes cast in this primary election, up 11 percent from 248,731 in the 2004 primary.
About six precincts opened late because the workers and precinct chairs did not show up, officials said. There was also some confusion because a polling place in McCully changed.
The first printout contained 98,940 absentee ballots. That number will change this morning when the mail-in ballots received yesterday are added to the final printout.
The absentee ballots indicated a significant number of Republicans voted a Democratic Party ballot because of the high-profile U.S. Senate race. About 85 percent of the ballots were cast for Democratic Party candidates, higher than the 70 percent of the absentee vote that voted Democrat in 2004. Only 11 percent of the absentee ballots were Republican, compared to about 25 percent in the 2004 and 2002 primaries.
About 2.6 percent of the absentee ballots were invalidated because people voted for candidates in more than one party. In the 2004 primary, 5,559 ballots were spoiled because of multi-party voting.
The 2,601 spoiled ballots were much lower than in the 2004 election, when 5,559 ballots or about 7 percent of the absentee ballots cast were invalidated because of multi-party voting.
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hadyn Durbin got a front-row seat to the voting process yesterday as his mother, Marsha, voted at Aina Haina School.
Hawaii election law requires voters to choose the party they will vote in the voting booth. With the paper ballot system, that means voters must only vote for one party, even though the ballot contains all the candidates in all the party races.
Election workers not showing up created problems at Nuuanu Elementary School and a few other precincts on Oahu.
"A precinct official literally was drafted 15 minutes before the 7 a.m. (opening) hour" and put in charge of Nuuanu Elementary School, said elections office spokesman Rex Quidilla.
Quidilla said it is not unusual to have a 10 to 20 percent drop-off in election workers. "This time, going into the election, it was tight. So when you lose critical personnel, the problem becomes even worse."
He said he talked to the woman who was drafted at the last minute at Nuuanu Elementary to assume a supervisory role. She was frustrated, he said. "She got more than she bargained for but she's at the post, doing her job."
Eight precincts also had problems with optical scan machines that had to be replaced for various reasons, he said.
Some voters used to casting ballots at the McCully Recreation Center had trouble finding or getting to a new polling place yesterday at the Spalding Clubhouse at 1704 Waiola St.
The voting site was changed for the 5th Precinct, 22nd District, because the McCully Recreation Center is being remodeled, said Rachel Bautista, precinct chairwoman. Notices with maps were sent out a few weeks ago, but some voters complained that the maps were not very good, she said.
No sign was posted at the recreation center to direct people to the Spalding (Boys and Girls) Clubhouse until voters complained, she said.