UPDATED (09/19 — 7:45 p.m.) — As Civil Beat suspected, the “final” report Sunday morning did not include all absentee ballots. Printout No. 5 was posted to the elections website at some point Sunday. It’s timestamped at around 10:30 a.m. but was not released until hours after that as Civil Beat was in and out of that data throughout the afternoon. The final (for now) numbers show that 129,824 absentee ballots were cast this year. Overall turnout has now barely eclipsed the gubernatorial primary low water mark set in 2006. The links below will take you to the most recent version of the data.

UPDATED (09/19 — 11:30 a.m.)Final election results [pdf] posted Sunday morning show 117,258 absentee ballots were cast this year. Overall turnout was the lowest for a primary in a gubernatorial election year in the last two decades.

ORIGINAL STORY POSTED FRIDAY SEPT. 17

The absentee turnout for Saturday’s election has already eclipsed Hawaii primary records — and they’re not done counting.

With potentially thousands more ballots still to be received, elections officials from around the state revealed Friday that more than 115,000 absentee ballots had been cast as of the end of Thursday.

The deadline for the elections officials to receive mail-in ballots isn’t until 6 p.m. Saturday, but the number of absentee voters is already 22 percent higher than it was for the 2008 primary. The highest absentee turnout for a primary to date was 102,349 in 2006. The final figure will still pale against the 2008 general election, which saw 175,526 absentee ballots.

In Honolulu alone, more than 80,000 voters had already made their choices as of the end of the day Thursday. Honolulu City Elections Administrator Glen Takahashi told Civil Beat Friday morning that more than 64,000 mail-in ballots had already been processed, with thousands more expected in coming hours. The city sent out more than 87,000 ballots, about 1,600 of which are duplicates for ballots that contained errors.

State Office of Elections spokesman Rex Quidilla said 17,132 Oahu voters participated in early walk-in voting, which concluded Thursday evening.

Hawaii County Elections Program Administrator Pat Nakamoto said Friday that 6,495 mail-in ballots had been received as of the end of the day Thursday. The Big Island mailed out 7,910 ballots. Quidilla said 9,661 Big Island voters participated in walk-in voting.

A Maui County official in the elections division of the county clerk said Friday that 7,192 of 8,897 mail ballots had been received as of Thursday. Quidilla said 3,004 Maui voters participated in walk-in voting.

Kauai County Clerk Peter Nakamura said 5,881 of 7,676 mail ballots had been received as of the end of the day Wednesday. Quidilla said 2,337 Kauai voters participated in early walk-in voting.

County Mail-in Walk-in Total Mailed Out Pct Returned
Honolulu 64,000 17,132 81,132 87,000 73.6
Hawaii 6,495 9,661 16,156 7,910 82.1
Maui 7,192 3,004 10,196 8,897 80.8
Kauai 5,881 2,337 8,218 7,676 76.6
Total 83,568 32,134 115,702 111,483 75.0

Source: Hawaii Office of Elections and county elections officials

While the final days before an election might typically be a time of high volume for the receipt of mail-in ballots, there aren’t many more yet to be returned. Of more than 115,000 mailed out, more than 83,000 (75 percent) have already been returned.

All told, more than 32,000 voters cast a ballot during early walk-in voting between Sept. 3 and Thursday, according to Quidilla. The county numbers — still subject to final county audits — total 32,134.

A Civil Beat analysis of 2008 primary election results reveals that the number of mail-in ballots already received in 2010 is 15,000 or 17,000 more than were received in 2008 — an increase of 21 to 24 percent. Walk-in voters also increased.

The exact numbers of walk-in votes and mail-in votes from the 2008 election are not readily available as the final statewide results [pdf] break down votes cast only by “precinct” — those cast at a polling place on election day — and “absentee” — which includes both early walk-in and mailed-in ballots.


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