Voter Turnout in Maui County Lowest in State
By Wendy Osher
Maui County continues to have the lowest voter turnout in the state with just 32.2% of the county’s 85,581 registered voters turning out to cast ballots.
In Maui County, more people cast absentee ballots than those that turned up at the polls on Saturday. More than 15,432 people in the county voted early, while 12,000 cast ballots over the weekend at the 34 polling places on Maui, Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi.
The numbers are actually up about 1.6% from the last primary election in 2012, and up 6.6% from an even lower turnout of 25.6% in the 2008 primary.
Statewide, voter turnout was 41.4%, with a total of 285,440 people voting this year. Kauaʻi had the highest voter turnout at 47%, followed by Honolulu at 43.4 %, and Hawaiʻi County at 37.6%.
The breakdown of votes in Maui County included 22,855 votes cast under the Democratic Party, and 3,303 cast as Republican.
In April the state legislature passed a bill that will eventually allow same day voter registration. The bill was introduced by Maui Representative Kaniela Ing as a way to improve voter turnout.
Under the election reform measure, residents will be allowed to register to vote at early voting locations in 2016 and at all election day polling places in 2018.
Upon passage of the bill, Ing called the measure an “effective short-term solution” to low voter turnout saying, “There are all kinds of reasons folks do not vote, but arbitrary, outdated registration deadlines should not be one of them. Bold action is underway to educate citizens and increase civic engagement, but this solution promises the most instant impact.”