A week out from Election Day, more than half of all registered voters in Hawaii have cast their ballots, following a trend seen across the U.S.

Statewide voter turnout on Tuesday was about 51.9%, according to data provided by the county clerks’ offices. Over 830,000 individuals are registered to vote in the Nov. 3 general election, and 431,426 have already returned ballots. 

Updated 8:40 a.m.: As of Wednesday, more than 457,294 ballots were received. That puts turnout at about 55%. It also means Hawaii has broken the record for total number of ballots cast in a general election previously set in 2008, the year Barack Obama was elected president.

Official Ballot Box and General Election Ballot Vote 2020
Hawaii voter turnout is on track to surpass 2016. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2020

Oahu led the counties in returns as of Tuesday with 294,060 ballots cast; Hawaii County reported 64,811; Maui County, 48,468; and Kauai County, 24,180.

Hawaii has historically lagged behind other states when it comes to voter turnout. In 2016, voter turnout was 58.4%.

But if early returns are any indication, Hawaii is likely to surpass that number in the coming days. Early ballot returns have tended to spike in the week before an election in past years in Hawaii.

In August, half of all ballots cast on Oahu came in during the last week leading up to the election. Total turnout for the August primary was 16% higher than 2016.

Tuesday was the last day voters were asked to mail their ballots. From now to Election Day, anyone wishing to cast ballots should take them to a drop box or vote in person at a voter service center.

The use of in-person voting options at voter service centers across the state also appears to have risen above rates seen in August. So far, 2.5% of ballots cast statewide have been at one of the voter centers, compared to just 1.3% in the primary election.

A total of 9,993 voters have cast ballots in person at voter service centers.

That rate is also far higher than early in-person numbers seen during the primary, when less than 1% of voters used in-person options on Oahu.

The rate of in-person voting is highest on Kauai, where 3% of ballots cast so far have been at the voter service center in Lihue.

Lyndon Yoshioka, the Kauai County elections administrator, said that foot traffic to the voter center has seen an uptick in the last week. But he noted that an increase in in-person voting was expected during the runup to Tuesday’s election.

Mailing ballots still seems to be Hawaii’s favorite way to vote, with counties reporting that 97% of all ballots received came through the mail or via a drop box.

In August, Oahu led the other counties in drop box usage, with 17% of ballots cast coming from those boxes. However, that breakdown was not readily available Wednesday.

Maui County also includes any ballots hand-delivered to the clerk’s office in its mail counts. Kathy Kaohu, the clerk for the county, said hand delivery of ballots to the office is still an option for anyone wanting to return their ballots.

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