HONOLULU(KHON2) — Saturday’s midterm election is the first time the vote by mail system was used in the primary election according to the Honolulu City Clerk Glen Takahashi. As of noon on Election Day, he said everything’s been smooth-going.
Saturday was a busy day at the polls with many voters taking advantage of the drive-thru drop boxes.
“It’s been a nice, consistent flow of voters and cars of people dropping off their ballots,” Takahashi said.
“This is the first time we did a midterm in the vote by mail scheme so we seem to be handling the traffic, flow of voters,” Takahashi said.
According to Takahashi, roughly 190,000 people had already mailed in their votes as of Friday.
“So that tells me people like the vote by mail process,” Takahashi explained. “About 10 percent to 15 percent are coming in the drop boxes.”
Takahashi said the vote by mail system improves accessibility by putting a ballot in the hands of every registered voter.
Kapolei resident Narayan Gabbard said he loved the mail-in option.
“We all have busy schedules,” Gabbard said. “I can do it at my own convenience and still have the option to drop it off in case I don’t get it mailed in. I love the new way.”
Ewa Beach resident Madelyn Cole disagreed.
“It just doesn’t seem proper not to vote in person,” Cole said. “I like the old way because I could go in, sign my name, show my driver’s license, they check the roll that I was actually that person and that I voted in that vote.”
Takahashi said the mail-in voting system does have a verification system. They use your signature to authenticate your vote.
“We have staff that are trained to take a look at these signatures and do the signature comparisons,” Takahashi explained.
Kailua resident, Kimberly Conner said, “I feel a little more comfortable with my vote getting counted if I hand it somebody so to speak that’s here watching everything go on, versus the drop-off. I don’t know, I’m old school I guess.”
Only Honolulu Hale and Kapolei Hale were open for in-person voting Saturday. The other two locations in Kaneohe and Wahiawa closed Friday afternoon.
Voters like Kaneohe resident Sunshine Farias said they should have stayed open.
“The parking right now was kind of a hassle and I’m watching all these people walk back and forth it would have been nice just to have one on the windward side,” said Sunshine.
According to Takahashi, the voting service center schedule will be the same for the general election with pop-up locations available five days prior to Election Day.
Only the primary voting sights in town and Kapolei will be open on November 8th.
The hope is more people will use the vote by mail system.
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“You can do it in the privacy of your own home, take your time, no need to physically come here and be in a line of cars,” said Takahashi.