"Voting is a habit - one that is powerfully inspired by personal contact - and political participation should be a lifestyle."
Those are the words of Tufts University student Hana Migliorato, from Hawaii, in an article posted on the League of Women Voters website last month. I agree with Hana that we should encourage our friends and family to be participants in democracy, especially by exercising the cherished, hard-won right to vote.
Saturday's primary election is an opportunity for citizens to exercise their right to decide on leadership that will shape the future of our county, state and nation. Unfortunately, in recent elections Maui County has consistently had the lowest voter participation in the state.
See the turnout numbers at hawaii.gov/elections/factsheets/fsvs505.pdf.
Elections officials have made it easier to vote. Indeed, many of you have likely already voted in the primary by mailing in absentee ballots or taking advantage of early walk-in voting opportunities.
Walk-in voting is being conducted Monday through Thursday at two county locations:
* Seventh floor of the Kalana O Maui building, 200 S. High St., Wailuku.
* State Department of Accounting and General Services building, 45 Makena Place, Kaunakakai.
Voting hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Before voting, you can view and print a sample ballot at the Office of Elections website at elections2.hawaii.gov/ppl.
The elections website will also identify your polling place.
Please note only four of nine County Council races are on the primary election ballot. Council elections that include only one or two candidates will only be on the general-election ballot.
The Office of the County Clerk is still seeking election workers for Saturday's primary, with a particular need for assistance at Upcountry Maui polling locations. A stipend of $85 or more is provided.
For more information or to sign up, please call the office at 270-7749.
Meanwhile, the council - which is in session throughout the year - continues with its legislative work.
On July 23, 110 Molokai residents took advantage of the council's award-winning system that allows for testimony to the Council Chambers in Wailuku from the council offices in Hana, Lanai and Molokai. Along with 98 testifiers on Maui, the Molokai residents testified on the initiative petition to place a moratorium on the cultivation of genetically engineered organisms, which will be placed on the general-election ballot.
At its meeting Friday, the council received two bills from the Department of Planning to clarify the purpose and effect of the General Plan and various community plans. The legislation will be reviewed in committee.
The next council meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Aug. 19. The agenda is expected to include bills and resolutions recommended for approval by council committees last week.
The Office of Council Services, which staffs the council's eight standing committees and provides research and logistical support to all nine council members, is seeking applications for a legislative attorney. Instructions and more information on how to apply can be viewed at mauicounty.gov/ocsattorney.
A hui hou.
* Gladys C. Baisa is chairwoman of the Maui County Council and holds the council's Pukalani-Kula-Ulupalakua area residency seat. "Chair's 3 Minutes" is a weekly column to explain the latest news on county legislative matters.