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About 170 visited Wailuku voting center Saturday

Diane Minogue (from left) helps her daughter, Cleo Borthwick, as precinct worker Melina Sagabaen looks on during in-person voting Saturday night at Velma McWayne Santos Community Center in Wailuku. The Maui News / KEHAULANI CERIZO photo

A steady flow of in-person voters meandered through Velma McWayne Santos Community Center on Saturday night during the final hour before precinct doors closed at 7 p.m.

James Krueger, deputy county clerk and precinct leader, said Saturday had the highest turnout of voters over all 12 days the center was open, with an estimated 170 participating.

Voters had various reasons for coming to polls – from missing mail-in ballots to curiosity over using the new voting machines.

“I wanted to see what the technology looks like. I wanted to use it myself,” said Daniel Dismukes, Haiku resident.

After voting, he said the new technology was overall easy to use, noting the voting review section at the end was difficult to read.

“Full disclosure: At the end, it has a printout thing and it could’ve said Hillary Clinton 20 times, and I couldn’t read it because it was so small,” Dismukes said. “I thought this better be the same as I selected. I’m trusting you guys.”

Cleo Borthwick, who was registered to vote but her ballot never arrived, came with mom Diane Minogue, who voted by mail.

“I prefer in person but I can live with mail,” Minogue said.

The two said voting during a pandemic was an interesting experience.

“I never thought something like this would happen,” Borthwick said.

Minogue said the location was streamlined with volunteers directing voters and signs posted on where to go.

Desiree Paahana said the decision to vote in person was an easy one.

“I messed up my mail-in ballot,” she said, laughing.

Krueger said there were various reasons for in-person voting, including missing registration deadline, or for others who are registered, they may have missed the ballots in the mail, perhaps due to a wrong mailing address.

“We have also gotten some feedback where people are saying, ‘You know, we really want to vote at the polls — voting in-person is what I want to do,” Krueger said.

Overall, Krueger said that the feel he got from voters is positive, with participants eager to participate in the process.

“Voting numbers are up,” he said. “The mail-in and services we are providing are really encouraging people to do that.”

This year, staff said the voting process, which allows for counting up to 10 days out from Election Day, is efficient – as well as exciting.

“What I gather from staff this year is that this is exciting but not as chaotic in previous years, because in previous years, everything would happen in one day,” he said. “Because we have so much time to work and perfect our craft, things get easier and easier as we go on.”

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