U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa are locked in a tight race to decide who wins the Democratic nomination for former Sen. Daniel K. Inouye’s senate seat that has grabbed national attention from the New York Times, among others. The governor’s seat is up for grabs and the Office of Hawaiian Affiars (OHA) is holding its first ever primary with five of nine seats open.
July 10 marked the end of voter registration for the primary.
The number of registered voters for the Aug. 9 election is the highest for a primary in the state’s history.
The total number of registered voters for this year’s primary election is 697,033, an increase of approximately 2 percent from 2010, when the governor’s seat was last open.
The number of registered voters has increased in all four counties, with Hawaii and Kauai counties seeing the largest increases at 4 percent since 2010. Maui and Honolulu counties saw slightly lower increases of about 2 percent.
Requests for mail ballots has also increased, by about 12 percent, from 142,556 in 2012 to 160,696 this year.
Whether the higher registration amounts to more votes cast won’t be known until the primary.
Historically, Hawaii’s actual voter turnout in primaries has been less than 50 percent. In 2012, of the 687,500 registered voters, only 290,766 or 42 percent cast ballots. In 2010, about 49 percent of registered voters turned out.
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