53.7 percent voter turnout in special election signals success of mail in ballots
Voters of the First Congressional District made it clear: When given the choice, most of the people in the district prefer to mail their ballots.
Turnout for today's special election was 53.7 percent. Out of 317,337 registered to vote in the district, 170,312 people cast a vote as of end of day yesterday.
That's substantially more than the 13.3 percent turnout in 2002, the last time there was a mid-term, winner-take-all election to replace the 2nd Congressional District representative.
Of those who voted, only 1.4 percent chose to walk into ballot booths that set up especially for this election at Honolulu Hale. The overwhelming number of voters check off ballots sent to their homes and put them in their mailboxes.
During the 2003 2nd Congressional District special election, the last time there was a mid-term winner-take-all election to replace a Hawai'i House member, 13.3 percent cast ballots in a traditional, polling-place election.
The two City Council special elections last year attracted 41 percent and 45 percent of voters.
Voter turnout was 66 percent in the 2008 general election — a presidential election year — and a record-low 53 percent in 2006.
Election officials released the results at 6 p.m. A final printout, which will include all of about 1,000 votes collected just today, is expected to come out in before midnight.
Chief elections office Scott Nago said there were no glitches reported.