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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, September 15, 2006

Walk-ins running ahead of 2002 vote

By Treena Shapiro
Advertiser Government Writer

More than 7,500 voters statewide trekked to early walk-in voting sites to cast their ballots this week, a slight increase over the same period during the last primary election in 2002.

"It seems like it's a little busier than in the past," said Hawai'i County election administrator Pat Nakamoto, where 2,504 voters opted for early walk-in voting by yesterday afternoon.

Shirley Magarifuju, Maui County's election specialist, said 882 voters had visited walk-in voting booths the first three days. "We had (a) very busy first day," she said.

However, while the first few days of walk-in voting seemed a bit busier than usual, county election officials are bracing for next week, when voters are expected to crowd the remote voting sites.

"Traditionally, the start of the period is not nearly as busy as when we get closer to the election," said state elections spokesman Rex Quidilla.

In Honolulu, about 4,200 walk-ins voted between Monday and Wednesday.

"It's about 700 more voters than the first three days of two years ago," said city elections administrator Glen Takahashi.

Still, lines have been moving smoothly.

Meanwhile, mail-in ballots are still coming in, although more than half of the 65,000 ballots mailed out have yet to be returned.

The mail-in absentee vote total thus far is about on par with the last primary election, officials said.

Voters have until tomorrow to apply for a mail-in ballot, which must be turned in by 6 p.m. on election day, Sept. 23.

Applications are not required for absentee walk-in voting, but you must be a registered voter.

Reach Treena Shapiro at tshapiro@honoluluadvertiser.com.