The 4% decline from the '02 election
comes despite a recent surge in registration
Hawaii voter registration for the Nov. 2 election dropped 4 percent from the 2002 general election, the first such decrease in state history, according to the state Office of Elections.
The decline came despite a surge in registrations after last month's primary election, officials said yesterday.
Between the Sept. 18 primary and the Oct. 4 deadline, 21,118 people registered to vote in the general election. That is the highest number of registrations between the primary and general elections since 1992, when 31,772 people registered, and the fourth-highest increase in state history.
The new registrations brought the number of eligible voters in Hawaii this year to 647,236, 4.3 percent below the 676,242 registered voters for the 2002 general election. While Hawaii's voter rolls have decreased between primary elections before, this was the first drop between two general elections, officials said.
State Office of Elections spokesman Rex Quidilla attributed the overall decline to a purge in the voting list last year, when the names of voters who died, moved, or could not be located were removed.
"In the abundance of caution, there were a number of years names were kept on the rolls," Quidilla said.
The purge dropped the number of registered voters from 667,679 to 591,507.
State Democratic and Republican Party officials attribute the surge in registrations since this year's primary to the presidential election.
"Recent events like the presidential debates motivated people to vote because they want to see change," said Donalyn Dela Cruz, Democratic Party of Hawaii spokeswoman.
Hawaii Republican Party Chairman Brennon Morioka said, "I think it's partly due to the presidential race and our growth as a party being able to field quality candidates top to bottom."
In addition, a nationwide effort to encourage adults ages 18-24 to vote spread to the islands with the "Rock the Vote Hawaii" registration drive.
Coordinator Mark Wilber said 136 people registered at a Sept. 25 concert at Kapiolani Park Bandstand. What is more important is that the event motivated people to vote and gave them a chance to meet some candidates, Wilber said.
The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement also partnered with Hawaiian homestead associations to register Hawaiians on all islands.
"It started out only on Oahu, but the people on the neighbor islands heard about it," said Brandi Lau, council vice president.