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Voter turnout in West Maui must improve

By Staff | Mar 27, 2014

This year, West Maui must move down a high-profile top ten list in Hawaii.

While we take pride at being the best in many areas, it’s not a plus to rank in the basement in voter turnout.

Hawaii had the lowest voter turnout in the nation in 2012. According to the CNN article “Hawaii: The state that doesn’t vote,” House District 10 in West Maui saw the lowest voter turnout in the state (15 percent) in the 2012 primary.

To help improve turnout, the Maui County Council recently adopted a resolution urging the County Clerk to increase the number of early walk-in voting locations throughout Maui County.

“Voting must be encouraged, whether on election day, via absentee mail-in or early walk-in,” Councilman Mike White said.

“As the resolution states, ‘The right to vote is critical in upholding a vibrant democracy,’ and the opportunity to participate should be made available and accessible to our citizens.”

According to the state Office of Elections, walk-in voting will be available July 28 to Aug. 7 for the Aug. 9 primary election and Oct. 21 to Nov. 1 for the Nov. 4 general election. County clerks determine walk-in voting locations throughout the state.

“Although mail-in voting is an option, greater access to early walk-in voting would make it more convenient to cast a ballot, likely increasing voter turnout,” White said. “Many residents still prefer voting at a physical location.”

Make sure you register and vote this year. The contests look to be dynamite, with U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Mayor Alan Arakawa all up for reelection, and several new faces – including Ka’ala Buenconsejo and Rick Nava in West Maui – vying for County Council seats.

For more information, visit hawaii.gov/elections.