HOW THE VOTING WENT
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Marilynn Ito-Wan assisted a voter yesterday at the polling station in Castle High School's cafeteria. Some precinct volunteers failed to report for duty or showed up late, causing delays in the opening of some stations. CLICK FOR LARGE
Record low turnout, delays
Hawaii voters set a record for the lowest turnout for a statewide election
Slightly more than half of Hawaii's registered voters didn't cast a ballot, setting a record for the lowest turnout for a statewide election.
According to the fourth election printout issued at about 6:04 a.m. today, turnout for the 2006 general election was 52.6 percent. The previous low was 57 percent, set in the 2002 midterm election.
There are 662,728 registered voters in the state.
Turnout on Oahu was 52.9 percent, according to a state printout issued at 6:05 a.m. today.
More registered voters on Maui stayed home than voted with only a 48.3 percent turnout, despite the hard-fought Maui mayor's race. Kauai had 55.6 percent of its registered voters cast ballots. On the Big Island, turnout was 53.2 percent.
Elections officials were to try this morning to track down two control consoles for the eSlate paperless direct recording voting machines that may have been left in their precincts last night.
One console was assigned to Pacific Islands Bible Church in Mililani and the other was at a precinct at Moanalua High School, said Rex Quidilla, the Office of Elections spokesman.
Quidilla said attempts were made to contact the precinct chairs last night but were unsuccessful. He said state does have the paper trail printers for the machines, but not the control consoles.
The situation appears to be similar to an incident in the primary election when a control console was locked in a precinct at Waipahu Intermediate School and had to be recovered the next day, Quidilla said.
Once the control consoles are located, the state should be able to release the final statewide tally sometime today, he said.
Also in the total will be a last batch of duplicate paper ballots. The ballots had to be re-marked in the presence of elections observers because they got crumpled or otherwise could not be run through the counters.
In addition to low turnout, yesterday's vote was marred by glitches that frustrated voters across the state. Two polling places ran out of paper ballots and six opened late.
Despite the problems, however, all of the state's 353 polling places closed by 7:15 p.m. and state election officials were soon able to release the first results, which included most of the absentee vote count.
Rex Quidilla, state Office of Elections spokesman, said Makakilo Elementary School reported running low on paper ballots at 4 p.m. and was down to 10 ballots at 4:30 p.m.
The state sent out more ballots, but they did not arrive until 5:40 p.m.
In the meantime, voters lined up to use the single paperless Hart eSlate direct-voting machine at the precinct.
Quidilla said Kahi Mohala hospital in Ewa also ran out of ballots, but only 10 people were in line and they used the eSlate machines. Seven other precincts also reported running low on ballots, but they did not run out, according to election officials.
The glitches were due to a combination of underestimating turnout and the procedure to account for spoiled ballots, Quidilla said.
Six polling places opened late because precinct chairs or the people with keys to the building were late or didn't show up.
Reporter Rosemarie Bernardo contributed to this report.