The Primary Election in Hawai’i is one month away and the state elections office is trying its best to increase voter registration.
The State Office of Elections is conducting drive-by voter registration on O’ahu, the Big Island, Maui and Kaua’i. This service is available only until the registration deadline, July 12th. Nedaline Bueno is the Voter Services Section Supervisor, heading up the team outside of the State Capitol.
“We started this in 2014 and since then it’s been very popular for Hawai’i residents because it’s a very convenient way to register. So, in 2016, we serviced over 17-hundred people statewide, so it’s a big number for us.”
Residents trickled in from 8am, mostly on foot. Josh Quint moved to Hawai’i in September and wants his voice to be heard in the elections.
“Homelessness is a big one for me. I see it a lot. I just walked down to Fort Street and, you know, you see a lot of people out there, kinda struggling and I think it’s way too high everywhere. Housing is a big issue and I’ll definitely be thinking about that as I’m voting.”
Amalita Cabangon has lived in Hawai’i since 2010 and became a naturalized U-S citizen last year.
“This is my first time to vote in Hawai’i but in the Philippines I use my freedom to vote, too. And my important issue is for jobs. If not have no tourism, don’t have job. Tourists is the best economics here in Hawai’i.”
Curt Cotrell has been voting in Hawai’i since moving here in 1983. He’s on his bicycle on his way to his state job. He’s non-committal on who he’s voting for in the primary election but fully supports the state’s mission.
“I’ve been at the Department of Land and Natural Resources for almost 30 years and the reason I took the positions there is our of my huge commitment to our natural resources and, yes, very concerned about ‘em.”
There are currently 739-thousand residents registered to vote in this year’s election, an increase of about 13-thousand from 2016. Voter Services Chief, Bueno, says there’s one last chance to register and vote.
“Starting this year, we do have election day registration. It’s a new service so for folks who aren’t able to make it for the July 12th deadline, they need to report to their assigned polling place on election day, where they can register and vote.”
For HPR News, I’m Wayne Yoshioka.