More than 24,000 absentee ballots cast in Maui County

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. today

With Maui County voters going to the polls today, more than 24,000 votes already have been cast through mail-in and walk-in voting, a county election official said Monday afternoon.

The absentee total comes within 3,000 votes of the total number cast — 26,993 — in the Aug. 13 primary election. This is in keeping with past trends of significant increases in general election voting, which decides who will be president, governor and mayor and — in 2014 — whether the highly charged genetically modified organism referendum would pass.

The totals also reflect a voting trend over the last two election cycles where more voters are casting their ballots absentee than at the polls on Election Day. Though the primary election turnout was only 29.6 percent of registered voters, absentee voting surpassed in-person voting, 16,101 and 10,892, respectively.

Walk-in voting, which began Oct. 25 and concluded Saturday in Wailuku and Kaunakakai, attracted 5,126 voters.

The mail-in total was 19,000 as of Monday afternoon, the election official said. “Mail-in has increased a lot,” said the official, who asked to remain anonymous.

It is too late for mail-in voters today to use the U.S. Postal Service, though they have until 6 p.m. today to submit their completed ballot at any polling place in the county. A mail-in ballot postmarked today but not received by the Office of the County Clerk by 6 p.m. today will not be accepted.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. today. Anyone in line at 6 p.m. will be allowed to vote. Nonpeak voting hours are 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., according to the state Elections Office.

Voters unsure of their polling place can find it on www.elections.hawaii.gov.

Proof of identification is required; this includes a valid photo ID, copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or other government-issued document that shows a name and address.

Sample ballots and more information about the election are available at olvr.hawaii.gov/altballotsearch.aspx.

The Office of Elections can be reached at (808) 453-VOTE (8683). The Maui County Office of the County Clerk can be reached at 270-7749.

The results of the past two elections would forecast a near doubling of the primary election vote. In 2014, with the governor’s race and the GMO moratorium referendum on the ballot, there were 46,005 votes cast in the general election, compared to 28,337 in the primary.

In the 2012 election, with Hawaii-born Barack Obama on the ballot, there were 48,915 votes cast in the general election, compared to 25,702 in the primary election.

In addition to the presidential election, a U.S. Senate and 2nd Congressional District House seat are on the ballot in Maui County. All nine Maui County Council residency seats and four state House seats are being contested.

There also are five charter amendments, two state constitutional amendments and Molokai and at-large seats on the Office of Hawaiian Affairs on the ballot.

For up-to-date election results locally, Akaku Maui Community Media will provide live TV coverage beginning at 6 p.m., on cable Channels 53, 54 and 55 from its studios at the Akaku Center, 333 Dairy Road. The broadcast also will be available on KAKU 88.5 FM and streamed live on www.akaku.org.

The public is invited to come down to meet the candidates in person and watch the results on a giant outdoor screen at the Akaku Center.

Maui radio station KAOI also will broadcast live election coverage today. National election coverage will begin at 3 p.m. and local coverage at 6 p.m. KAOI can be found at 1110 AM and 96.7 and 96.5 FM.

The Maui News will be providing up-to-date election results and photos at www.mauinews.com.

* Lee Imada can be reached at leeimada@mauinews.com.

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