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Politics // The Right Price
Larry Price

Our Low Voter Turnout – Again

The primary election is over. Problem is, it left us with more unanswered questions, and there’s a general election to get ready for.

There were a lot of hotly contested races, but the turnout was not anything to brag about. The math was dismal. Of the state’s 687,500 registered voters, only 290,653 actually cast ballots.

That’s 42.8 percent of registered voters, but still higher than in 2008, when voter turnout was at a record low of 36.9 percent. Maui County had the low est turnout at 30.6 percent, followed by Kauai’s 39.2 percent.

There was a time when a good excuse not to vote was the hassle of finding your polling place, finding parking and dodging all the back-slapping and handshaking.

All of those distractions seem small today with early walk-in voting, vot ing by mail and other absentee balloting methods.

“Of the state’s 687,500 registered voters, only 290,653 actually cast ballots.”

There seemed to be an adequate number of volunteers to make the time spent at a polling place pretty much hassle-free.

It’s pretty obvious that working at a polling place is not all fun and laughter. The problems for Hawaii County are still not settled because the communication between Hawaii’s chief elections officer and the Hawaii County clerk is still not resolved. The delays at the county polls led to the governor issuing a proclamation to keep Big Island polls open 90 minutes later.

There is talk now that the governor is thinking about returning the polling process to the lieutenant governor’s office. Only time will tell, but that would be going back to the politicization of the voting process, which is not a great idea.

The election proved something else: There is no such thing as a cheap election. Most politicians raised a lot of money and spent a lot to tell the public whom they should vote for and why. Nowadays, fundraising ability is directly related to electability.

Chances are the general election will bring out many more voters than the primary election did, for whatever reason. To run for a political office, all it takes is a few bucks, a pretty face, a glib tongue, a church membership, a large family and absolutely no sense of economics.

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