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Tuesday, November 7, 2000

By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin
At Central Intermediate School this morning, Gov.
Ben Cayetano and Vicky Cayetano line up to vote.

Election Day

Isle voting seems to
be going well


By Gregg K. Kakesako and Helen Altonn
Star-Bulletin Staff

Despite minor glitches at some of the state's 330 polling places, voting appeared to be going smoothly as islanders joined the country in electing a new president and a host of officeholders.

Flag Button art The first county and statewide printouts are expected to be available about 7 p.m. -- about an hour after polls close, followed by another report at 9:30 p.m.

At Heeia School in Kaneohe, a few early voters reportedly were turned away because not all of the poll books were available.

However, state election office spokesman Rex Quidilla said everyone was allowed to vote because "other source documents" were used.

In Leeward Oahu, five voting machines had to be replaced when they malfunctioned, Quidilla said. However, "all the ballots were placed in a locked bin until a replacement machine was placed in operation and an observer watched as the ballots were fed into it," he said.

At Manoa Gym, nearly 70 voters had to wait 10 minutes beyond the scheduled 7 a.m. opening when precinct workers were unable to find a poll book.

Other than that, voters interviewed shortly after polls opened said they had no problems.

One of the first voters at Manoa Gym was Anthony Suehiro, a computer programmer, who said he was surprised that everything seemed to go so smoothly. "I guess they fixed the bugs," he said.

However, Suehiro said he had done his homework and took a list of candidates he was going to vote for into the booth.

Workers at Kalani High School said a number of people showed up at 6 a.m. and some were irate that they couldn't vote until 7 a.m.

By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
Gary Weber, director of software development for Election
Systems and Software, sits in the Senate Chamber, which has
been converted into the vote-counting control center,
as he readies for today's election.

Among the first to vote at Kalani were David Law, a loan officer, and his wife Maria, a medical technician. "Too many names. It's crazy," Law said. His wife said the ballot was a bit confusing because of the way it was arranged. "I almost missed the (U.S.) Senate."

But Thomas Elam, a network administrator, said he thought the ballots were straightforward "if you did your research ahead of time."

After voting at Aliiolani Elementary School, Nobu Hayashida, retired cement mason, said everything had gone smoothly.

"I thought the whole thing was very interesting but I'm glad it's over," said Kris Hartley, 32, who voted at Aliiolani. A project director for a market research company, Hartley said she was glad to see voting by circling instead of punching a hole. "It was a very easy ballot. Everything looked straightforward and clear."

At Noelani Elementary School, Roy Rabacal, precinct chairperson, said voters seem to have learned from their experience with the new voting system introduced at September's primary election.

On the neighbor islands, officials also reported no major problems and a heavier turnout than in the primary election:

Big Island

Long lines at several precincts prompted calls for extra voting booths this morning, but county elections chief Al Konish said it was hard to say if they were due to a good turnout.

He said he suspected the lines could be attributed to the two-page, front-and-back ballot covering three state Constitutional amendments, 16 county Charter amendments, nine Office of Hawaiian Affairs seats, as well as county, state and national races.

As for voters in Pahala, cut off from much of the rest of the island by last week's flood, their ballots will be flown to the counting center in Hilo by helicopter, Konish said.

But if the heavy rain that has pelted the eastern side of the island prevents delivery, the alternative is for the ballots to be driven almost completely around the island -- a four-hour drive.

Maui County

The number of early voters was about twice as many as in the primary in at least two precincts in Wailuku, officials said.

In the primary election, voter turnout was 29.7 percent -- just 21,403 of 72,177 registered to vote in Maui County.

This morning, "It's been steady," said Bonnie Cobb, a precinct chairwoman at Wailuku Elementary School. "It's more than the primary, that's for sure."

At Wailuku Community Center, more than 40 people stood in line waiting to cast their ballots. "People really want to vote," precinct chairwoman Joan Sakamoto said.

Maui County Clerk Daryl Yamamoto said turnout in the morning was heavy, with lines longer than in the primary election.

Kauai County

County Clerk Peter Nakamura reported no major problems on the Garden Island this morning.

Poll workers in Hanalei were impressed with the early morning turnout, saying it was the largest they had ever seen. The only complaints in Hanalei were the wait for parking and the long line to feed their ballots into the counting machine.

Reporters Anthony Sommer, Gary T. Kubota
and Frankie Stapleton contributed to this report.

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