By car, bicycle, skateboard or on foot, go vote tomorrow
After all the ads, debates and sign-waving, Hawaii voters will cast important ballots tomorrow.
HAWAII'S political candidates have yet to dive deep into the foul swamp of negative ads as has happened on the mainland through this election year.
Though some have dipped their toes in from time to time and though whisper campaigns and e-mail transmissions have provoked controversy, by and large, isle candidates have managed to avoid "talking stink" on public airwaves.
Ugly campaigns often put off voters, but people here cannot rightfully use that excuse for failing to cast ballots. Nor can they say they are too busy since a good number are given a holiday. Those who do have to work should know that employers are required to give them time off, with pay, to vote if their shifts begin or end less than two hours before polls open and close.
The Star-Bulletin urges everyone who is registered to take the time to go to the polls tomorrow.
Besides choosing a governor, a U.S. senator, two U.S. House members, Office of Hawaii Affairs representatives, school board members, county leaders and state legislators, there are important issues to decide. Proposed amendments to the Hawaii Constitution and county charters, which will steer public policy for years to come, also will be on the ballot.
Hawaii voters have been spared the atrocious campaign ads that have swept across the mainland, most of them sparked by the high-stakes battle for control of Congress.
According to the Federal Election Commission, the Republican congressional committee has paid out $41.9 million on negative ads attacking Democrats, and just $5 million commending its own candidates, an 8-1 negative-to-positive ratio. Meanwhile, its counterpart has used $18 million to assail Republicans and $3.1 million to support Democrats, about a 6-1 ratio.
Voters usually say they don't like negative advertising, but that runs contrary to an Annenberg Public Policy Center study after the 2004 elections that showed many voters believed what they heard in television ads is true.
Advertising in Hawaii tends to mislead and exaggerate rather than downright lie. Claims are made about laws and programs as accomplishments of a single politician when, in fact, legislation is more often the result of cooperative or bipartisan efforts.
But even as candidates recognize that voters here are turned off by underhanded conduct, they cannot resist pointing out what they perceive as their opponents failings. While shortcomings should be considered, people would prefer to vote for a candidate instead of against another, affirmatively rather than negatively.
Exercise your right tomorrow; go vote.