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Polls are open until 6 p.m. Look here to find your polling place. Civil Beat’s unofficial Primary Election Ballot includes links to candidate Q&As. Find other useful information in our Hawaii Elections Guide.
Early results were released just before 7 p.m, showing David Ige leading Colleen Hanabusa in the race for governor, and Ed Case handily winning the race for the 1st Congressional District.
Check out all of Civil Beat’s stories on our Elections 2018 page.
One note: Civil Beat is reporting the results as released by the state Office of Elections. The percentages as reported by the state do not exclude blank votes and over votes; those categories are taken out and the percentages re-calculated only for nonpartisan races such as City Council where a candidate who gets 50 percent plus 1 of the votes cast wins the seat.
Dozens of David Ige supporters were starting to fill the C’est Si Bon Ballroom at the Pagoda Hotel in Honolulu around 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
That’s where the governor’s campaign is hosting its election night party to wait and watch as the results arrive in waves throughout the night, starting around 7 p.m.
The early evening atmosphere was upbeat, with people filling their plates at the buffet line and listening to live entertainment.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell made brief remarks to the crowd, applauding them for having “stuck with a man when it was difficult.”
“You have climbed a very steep mountain, and we’re almost at the top,” he said. “I believe it’s going to be close.”
— Nathan Eagle
To play it safe, the State Election Office has moved the first printout to 7 p.m., but it is not due to any issues.
With just minutes before the polls close at 6 p.m. statewide, there have been no major problems reported.
The first printout will include 100 percent of early walk-in votes, some of the mail ballots and none of the precinct counts.
The 2nd printout will include some of the precincts.
— Chad Blair
At Kamiloiki Elementary in Hawaii Kai, the lone electronic voting machine won over voters, some who opted to wait to use it, despite there being no lines for paper ballots.
One of those tried it out was Kahiwa Letman. The last time he voted, the 31-year-old filled out a paper ballot and it was such a crowded field of candidates he found it hard to read and confusing, he said.
This time, he took a spin on the new electronic voting machine. “It’s unreal,” said Kahiwa Letman, 31. “It’s so easy.”
During most elections, 21-year-old Nathaniel Aune, 21, sticks to a mail-in ballot. But he voted in person today. He said he was glad to see new voters being able to register the same day to vote and the addition of an electronic voting machine. “It’s great to see them make it more convenient and taking steps that will bring more voters out,” Aune said.
— Terri Langford
On a stretch of Farrington Highway just outside of Waianae Intermediate School, two candidates for the state house seat in District 44 faced off just a few hundred feet away from each other.
“We are exactly ten hours in,” incumbent candidate Cedric Gates said, wiping the sweat off his face with a green towel. “That’s dedication.” His team of sign-wavers appeared in good sprits, even going so far to circle and cheer around a group of passengers getting off at a nearby bus stop.
Further up the street, his challenger Jo Jordan appeared slightly sunburned, but cheerful about her prospects. “I feel good,” she said. Her team vigorously sign-waved to passing cars – they said they’d also been out for hours.
Asked if she had any words for her opponent’s team up the street, Jordan glanced down the street at their tent, and shrugged. “I don’t have anything to say to him.”
— Emily Dugdale and April Estrellon
Voters pulling into the Waianae Intermediate School parking lot are greeted with an electronic billboard displaying, “Mahalo for voting,” underneath the Hawaiian flag.
There’s a lot more cars in this parking lot- and a steady trickle of voters heading in and out of the polling place.
Third stop: Waianae Intermediate School. Mahealani Kahala, 23, said she’s voting today because working at the state legislature “opened my eyes to our civic responsibility.” #HawaiiPrimary #hivoted @CivilBeat pic.twitter.com/GqyBSK12rj
— Emily Elena Dugdale (@eedugdale) August 12, 2018
Mahealani Kahala, 23, used to work in the state legislature. Working there “opened my eyes to my civic responsibility,” she said.
Jean Teo-Gibney voted most recently in Nanakuli, but as a kid remembers coming to Waianae Intermediate on voting day. She’s back today, and wishes the best for whoever wins the governor’s race.
And she had strong words for anyone who sat out the primary.
“If you ain’t gonna vote, shut up,” she said. “Don’t squawk.”
It’s a pretty small crowd at Ma’ili Elementary School in Waianae. Folks are dashing into their cars after voting due to the afternoon heat.
Janell Hoopai voted today with her entire family in tow. “If you don’t vote, no grumble,” she said with a grin. “And I want to grumble!” She says it’s only her second or third time voting, but has been registered for years. She was drawn to particular candidates and felt strongly about casting her vote.
Another female voter who wished to remain anonymous said she hadn’t voted in a long time because she’d “lost faith in the system.” But she came out to support one candidate in particular.
She said voting process went smoothly, but “there were a lot of names I didn’t recognize on the ballot,” she added with a laugh before cranking up the AC in her car.
Sharon Akana, who’s voted at Ma’ili Elementary for her entire life, says there were many more people here than in past years.
— Emily Dugdale and April Estrellon
Robert White moved to Hawaii from Guam in 1970 and hasn’t missed voting in an election since. Today he voted for David Ige at Keolu Elementary School in Kailua.
White said the attack ads against Ige that he has seen on TV actually made him more inclined to vote for the incumbent governor. He also said if someone is associated with a super PAC, he’s less inclined to vote for them.
“I don’t like negative ads at all,” White said. “Anybody caught up in that, I didn’t vote for.”
— Natanya Friedheim
Gov. David Ige’s re-election campaign will host its primary election gathering for supporters at the Pagoda Hotel’s Cʻest Si Bon Ballroom, at 1525 Rycroft St.
His challenger, U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, and her supporters will be at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii’s Manoa Grand Ballroom, 2454 S. Beretania St.
Both parties are scheduled from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., ending around the time the third State Elections Office report is expected to be released.
A fourth “printout” report is expected around 11:30 p.m., with a final report coming sometime in the wee hours of Sunday.
— Chad Blair
In Waimanalo, Joseph Char voted for the first time today in Kalihi. He’s 37 years old.
We met in the morning while he was walking a pair of chihuahuas — Chica and Matty — with a pair of his friends.
He said he went to polls to support Kim Coco Iwamoto, who’s running for lieutenant governor. Char said he liked her story, and the fact she’s transgender.
But Char also said he cast a ballot this year for a simple reason — No vote. No grumble.
“I feel like I wanted to be an influence on who gets voted in,” Char said. “You don’t get to complain if you don’t vote. And it’s easy. It only took 3 minutes.”
Karin O’Mahoney, who I found just down the beach from Char, is another new voter, at least in the primaries.
She said she used to only cast her ballot in the general election, but recent events, including the ascendance of President Donald Trump, has made her more active.
“Since Trump has been running it makes clear that it’s all the more important,” O’Mahoney told me.
She hadn’t yet voted this morning, but she planned to right after she finished exercising her two horses, Belleza and Aguacero.
At the time, she wasn’t sure who she wanted to back in the primary with one exception — U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who represents Hawaii’a 2nd Congressional District, including rural Oahu and the neighbor islands.
— Nick Grube
Riki, who didn’t want to provide a last name, was walking back to the parking lot from the Kaimuki High polling center with a focused gaze.
The 31-year-old recently moved back to Hawaii after a stint teaching in Japan.
He said the most important race in the primary for him was the governor’s race.
While he declined to say which candidate he voted for, Riki said the issues he’s most concerned by are homelessness, education and affordable housing.
“Now that I’m a father, I really hope I’ll be able to own a home in Hawaii some day,” he said.
“I think it’s important to get involved locally as much as possible and the opportunity to vote on a Saturday is pretty nice.”
The voter grew up in Atlanta and lived in Hawaii for six years before he left for Japan. He said he didn’t bother to vote when he was 18, but now that he’s a family man, he cares about local issues and making Hawaii a better place to live.
“It feels weird moving back and seeing (all these) younger people,” he said. “I want them to save money. Change starts from within.”
— Suevon Lee
Mike Shihara, 69, practically bounded across Kaimuki Avenue from the strip mall across the street to head to the polling center at Kaimuki High.
Incidentally, the retired military service member is a 1967 graduate of the high school.
Though it was only noon, he seemed in a hurry to get to the polling center.
“As long as I can make sure that (Gov.) Ige gets in again,” Shihara said. “I kind of like him. He’s real low key, he does things, he gets things accomplished.”
What about the bungled response to the missile alert crisis back in January? Did that influence the retired Air Force member’s opinion at all of the incumbent?
“Not really. They blame him for it but it wasn’t really him,” Shihara said. “He had no control over that one.”
The Kapahulu resident said he’s voted in every election in Hawaii except for the years he was in the military. He’s been in Hawaii a total 40 years.
When asked what issues he thought were most important facing Hawaii residents, he replied, without missing a beat, “homelessness.”
“Find something. Get these guys off the streets somehow. I know a lot of them don’t want to get off the streets because they don’t like living in a place where people tell them what to do.”
— Suevon Lee
Activity was fairly slow at Kaimuki High around noon. Over a half-hour span, several voters came in and out of the cafeteria polling station on the sprawling campus.
Their ages spanned greatly: from a 25-year-old UH student who moved to Hawaii two years ago from Boston to an 89-year-old woman who’s voted in every election in the state since moving here from Japan in 1963.
“I don’t miss that, I’m a good citizen,” she said, while waiting for her ride on a nearby bench.
“When you live in United States, you are citizen of United States. You have to get interested in politics.”
William Post, 25, was walking back to his car with a friend after they cast their ballots. He commented on how few people seemed to be around at the polling center.
“It seems really empty,” he said, glancing around the front area of Kaimuki High, which sits by a busy commercial strip of stores and businesses. “I wish there was more focus on (voter) education, and why it’s important to vote.”
When asked who he voted for, Post said he focused really on the CD1 race and his pick, candidate Kaniela Ing. “That’s really why we voted,” he said. “He’s just so progressive.”
— Suevon Lee
Parking is sparse at Jarrett Middle School. The polling place is bustling with a steady flow of voters, many of whom appear to be walking from their homes in the nearby residential area.
Andrew Zimmerman was accompanied by his son Dave, 20, who said part of the reason he is voting is because his dad took him to the polling place as a child.
“I think it’s important to vote and have a voice in your community,” Dave Zimmerman said.
— Madison Lee Choi
Before heading to an afternoon basketball game, the Kau family brought their 7- and 10-year-old sons to show them the process of voting at Waialae Elementary School.
Colin Moore, political science professor from the University of Hawaii, has said that youth are more likely to vote as adults if they’re involved in the election process at an earlier age.
“That’s why we brought them,” Mrs. Kau said.
— Madison Lee Choi
Also at Waialae Elementary, Stacey Arnold considered voting early this primary election, but is glad she waited until today.
She said she had planned to vote for Colleen Hanabusa for governor, but after seeing recent attack ads, decided to vote for David Ige.
She also appreciates that Ige is a proponent of green energy.
— Madison Lee Choi
Recent Iolani School graduates Kassidy Bates and Lauren Nguyen came out to Kalani High School this afternoon to cast their votes before heading off for college in the fall.
Nguyen said social media, especially Twitter, influenced her decision to vote.
The two excitedly took selfies with their proof of voting slip after leaving the polling place.
— Madison Lee Choi
First-time and veteran voters turned out this afternoon at Nanaikapono Elementary School in Waianae.
Rena Techur and her daughter, Shaylene Moepono-Techur say that voting here was fast, though a little busy. Techur’s been voting at this polling place for five years.
She said she thinks she saw more people today than in past years. Her daughter, Shaylene, voted early by mail.
“The voting turnout was much less than in previous years, I was surprised because of all the hype, especially because of the tight race for governor – I’m shocked,” said Christine Yasue.
She’s voted here at Nanaikapono Elementary School since 1986. When she voted this morning, there were only four people in the polling booths.
— Emily Elena Dugdale (@eedugdale) August 11, 2018
“I’m the only person to vote in my family,” said Kaneala Peters-Clark, a first-time voter. He was surprised at how fast and easy it was to vote – “it only took me two minutes!”
He wants people to know that it’s not hard to cast a ballot, and hopes he can inspire more people to turn out for the primary. His dad dropped him off to vote – he’s still trying to convince him to go inside.
— Emily Dugdale and April Estrellon
Morning At The Polls
A few voters made their way to the polls early Saturday.
— Loryn Marie (@LorynLulu) August 11, 2018
— lara o. 🐶🌴🌞 (@larao68) August 11, 2018
— AHaley (@wakemeinNov2020) August 11, 2018
Hawaii Kai resident Claire Mitchell was one of about 10 voters at the Koko Head Elementary School polling station.
Mitchell, who voted for Gov. David Ige, said she normally waits until the general election to vote, but felt it was important to participate in the primary election because the race for democratic governor is “so close.”
She also said that she realizes the primary would make a “bigger difference.”
More voters started to trickle in around 1 p.m.
— Madison Choi and Bianca Smallwood
This will be the first year you can register on election day.
If you’re not registered, go to your designated precinct and do it, then cast your ballot. You’ll need to bring a government-issued picture ID, such as a driver’s license, military ID, or state ID, according to the State Office of Elections.
A passport, utility bill, bank statement, pay check or government-issued document that includes name and address may also be acceptable, according to the election website.
Find your polling place here.
A report by Nonprofit Vote on the 2016 election found that states with same-day registration recorded higher voter turnouts than states without it.
The difference was about 7 percent in 2016, according to the report.
— Blaze Lovell
Estimated early voting counts were at least 163,000 as of Friday. That’s several thousand higher than they were in the 2016 primary.
Oahu voters made up the bulk of that count. Early polling places had recorded 9,130 when those polls closed on Thursday. Honolulu received 98,640 mail ballots as of Friday afternoon, according to Rex Quidilla, Honolulu elections manager.
Since 2014, more people have voted using mail ballots or early polling places as opposed to traditional precincts, which opened at 7 a.m. and will close at 6 p.m.
Voter turnout as a percentage of voter registration has declined steadily since statehood. In 2016, about 34 percent of registered voters actually cast ballots.
— Blaze Lovell
HILO – As they’ve done every election eve since 1954, Hawaii’s Democratic Party leaders and canidates gathered Friday night to rally their supporters and urge people to vote.
Downtown Hilo’s historic bandstand attracted a mix of party faithful and curious passersby as dozens of homeless people who normally inhabit the shelter waited under nearby banyan trees.
Public participation appeared to be down this year. Many in the crowd had gray hair, and there were very few millennials. T-shirt-wearing supporters for several of the more prominent candidates entered in statewide races operated display booths and offered free hot dogs, spam musubi and other snacks.
Although Hilo is known for its rain, conditions were nearly perfect for a summer evening – much different than in 2014 when Tropical Strom Iselle forced rally organizers to move indoors for the first time in the event’s history.
“One time, I stood here, and it was a wall of water,” recalled Michael Janovsky, the Democratic Party’s District 1 chairman and media coordinator. “This is beautiful. “This is a nice one.”
— Jason Armstrong
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