HONOLULU (KHON2) — Tomorrow, Nov. 8, is General Election Day, but many have been voting already. Tuesday, Nov. 8 is the last day to do so; and joining KHON2 to tell us all about election preparations ahead of the big day, we have Scott Nago, chief election officer for the state of Hawaii.
GINA MANGIERI – Scott, thank you so much for joining us.
Get news on the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8
SCOTT NAGO -Thank you for having me.
GINA – How has this round been so far? We’ve had a couple of of cycles now with all-mail voting, in addition to being able to walk in and drop it off at the ballot box. How are you seeing things so far?
NAGO – So far, we’ve had over 285,000 voters cast their ballots either through the mail or in-person voting. If you haven’t done so you still have time. It’s important to note that ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on election day, not postmarked. So if you’re still holding on to your ballot, you still have time to go take it to a Voter Service Center or drop it off at a place of deposit.
GINA – And, do not stick it in a U.S. Postal Service mailbox at this point, it’ll be too late. The cutoff time for that to get those votes in tomorrow is 7 p.m. Do you expect much of a line? How do you think things will go tomorrow?
NAGO – It’s really hard to say. This is only our second vote-by-mail election. So, it’s really hard to predict trends of two elections. We’re hoping that voters who need to update their registration will do so prior to going to a Voter Service Center to vote. That way, when you go to a Voter Service Center, it won’t be a long process; your registration will be updated and you’ll be allowed to vote.
GINA – Folks who already voted can track their ballots. Tell us a little bit more about how they can know: Did my vote count?
NAGO – So, a new feature we have this year is you can sign up for notification alerts either by email texts or voice alerts. You can sign up for the alerts, and it will tell you when your ballot has been received by the clerk’s office process and accepted for counting, as well as download your virtual I Voted sticker.
GINA – Compared to this time last general election, a day before the official election day, how is our pace going as far as turnout relative to a couple of years ago?
NAGO – So, turnout is down this year. But it’s like I’ve been saying, all elections are unique. There are different candidates, different contests, different reasons, external reasons for voting. So it’s really hard to compare election to election and get a trend of turnout.
GINA – Historically, the presidential years tend to be a little bit higher?
NAGO – Historically, in recent history, presidential elections tend to be higher than midterm elections.
GINA – All right. And how have things been in terms of safety and security confidence at the polls? What are you hearing?
NAGO – You know, we’re just being vigilant. We’re making sure that we’re aware of our surroundings. If a voter does feel intimidated or if they are intimidated at a polling place, it is illegal. So I would urge that voter to call law enforcement to report it.
GINA – We see you there at the counting center, you’ve been scanning, prepping ballots, no tallies hit yet, of course. Tell us what’s in store for you for the end of today and into tomorrow?
NAGO – So what we’re doing is we’re finishing processing the ballots that we received in the mail yesterday. So we these are ballots that were received in the mail or at a place of deposit yesterday. Tomorrow, we’ll begin again, those will be all the ballots that were received up until the end the day today. And from there, we’ll process those ballots. And then once 7 o’clock (Tuesday) hits, or the last voter has voted, we’ll tally, tabulate the results and release them to the public.
GINA – All right, and I’ll be there with you Tuesday evening there at the Capitol. When we get those results hopefully really close to 7 p.m., about of how many or what’s the scope of what’s likely to be in the first printout?
NAGO – So the first printout in the primary, I believe, was 85 percent (of votes cast). That would include everything received up until that morning. And then the second printout, which is scheduled for 10 o’clock, will be the in-person voting. And then as counties or as we finished, there’ll be an election night final, it’s really hard. It just depends on when we finish, so I can’t really give you a time on that.
GINA – What changes have you made that will help expedite getting some of those neighbor island tallies back to us a little bit quicker?
NAGO – So at our Voter Service Centers we’ll be using a service relay which will transmit the results directly to us, so we won’t have to — if all goes correctly — we won’t have to wait for them to be driven in, so hopefully those will be closer. We’ll get those in sooner in the 10 o’clock report than later, closer to 10 o’clock.
Get Hawaii’s latest morning news delivered to your inbox, sign up for News 2 You
GINA – Well, Scott we do look forward to seeing all those numbers when they come out tomorrow. Thank you for joining us.
NAGO-Thank you for having me.