Voters were few and far between yesterday at the satellite city hall at Pearlridge Center, which was open for absentee voting in the special election to replace the late U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink.

Special election fails
to attract voters
at Pearlridge Center

Candidates differ on Iraq

By Mary Vorsino

The lines were long, the stores packed and the parking spaces few yesterday at Pearlridge Center on the last Saturday before Christmas.

But there was one place to escape the crowd -- the mall's satellite city hall, where walk-in absentee voters could vote early in the Jan. 4 special election to fill the 2nd Congressional District seat.

Only 16 mall-goers voted yesterday. Honolulu Hale, the only other absentee site on the island, attracted 19 voters.

About 20 to 30 voters a day have trickled into the Pearlridge walk-in absentee voting place since it opened on Wednesday. But Anne Sulzmann, an elections official at the mall's voting place, said she was expecting more yesterday with the increase in shoppers.

The low turnout on the first Saturday of the mall's walk-in voting site also surprised one Kaneohe couple, Jeff and Billie LaDouce, who were two of the voters who made a point to stop by in the midst of their shopping.

"It's very convenient," said Billie LaDouce, who had been Christmas shopping with her husband when she saw the sign for the absentee voting place. And the scant turnout, she said, was "somewhat scary."

So far, 239 Oahu residents have cast walk-in absentee ballots in the special election to replace the late U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink. Mink died on Sept. 28 after suffering from viral pneumonia for a month but she still won re-election.

Absentee voting ends on Jan. 2. Election officials are hopeful voter turnout will increase after Christmas.

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