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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Voters, don't let this race get away

If this is the most exciting congressional election in years, it sure isn't evident from the sluggish pace of ballots getting into the mailbox.

Only 28 percent of the ballots, due by May 22, have been returned so far.

That's an especially distressing statistic considering how easy it is to vote. And it's troubling considering how the state was hard-pressed to cough up the $900,000 needed for even a no-frills, vote-by-mail election for Neil Abercrombie's old seat.

With any luck, the outstanding ballots have simply slipped to the bottom of the heaps of mail on kitchen tables everywhere and have not hit the trash. And even if they have, machines installed at Honolulu Hale give voters a second chance.

Some may feel unenthusiastic about voting because polls are already predicting the outcome: Republican Charles Djou is out in front, the surveys say, with Democrats Ed Case and Colleen Hanabusa trailing.

These polls should have just the opposite effect: Get out there are make sure your candidate gets your vote. Mail-in voting is anything but predictable, and it's hard to guess which candidate has the most supporters actually getting their ballots in the mail.

So everyone's vote still does count and Congressional District 1 constituents can see that they do as late as 6 p.m. on May 22, when hand-carried ballots are due at the state Capitol. Considering that there are still about 227,000 ballots still unaccounted for, that's a lot of electoral power that has yet to make its mark.