HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND
By Kelly Moran
In Hawaii, many people who can vote do not vote. Hawaii has traditionally had low turnouts; and fewer than half of Hawaii’s registered voters turned out for the primary election that was just held on Sept. 18th.
Although much of the media coverage that day focused on the Democratic and Republican primary campaigns, the County Council races here on the Big Island are non-partisan, and produced some intriguing results.
Incumbent Kelly Greenwell (North Kona) was defeated by former N. Kona Council member Angel Pilago, who had run unsuccessfully for mayor in 2008. Both Ka’u Council member Guy Enriques and Puna Council member Emily Naole-Beason were out-polled by challengers Brittany Smart and Fred Blas, respectively; but there were other candidates in those races, and neither Smart nor Blas garnered more than 50 percent of the total number of votes, so they will face the incumbents one-on-one in a runoff election on Nov. 2.
Four incumbent Council members, however, faced no opposition: the three from Hilo – Council Chairman J. Yoshimoto, Dennis Onishi and Donald Ikeda – and Dominic Yagong, from the Hamakua district.
There are fewer polling places, now, than in previous years; but more and more people are voting early. Increasingly popular are absentee ballots, and “early-voting” polling places, open for about two weeks in advance of election day, where you can walk in and cast your ballot. Tallies of those early and absentee votes, by the way, are the first to be reported after the polls close on election day.
We Americans are lucky to live where the people who govern us are democratically elected. There may be plenty of reasons to criticize their performance in office, but they have been voted in by the majority of their constituents and can be voted out the same way.
We take for granted the right to vote, and we should set an example to the rest of the world by exercising that right. Indeed, it seems to me that, if people don’t vote, they can’t morally justify criticizing the government. So, no matter how you actually cast your ballots . . . if you’re going to live here, you owe it to your fellow citizens and to yourself to vote!
For more info on Voting in Hawaii, see the State of Hawaii Office of Elections or the County of Hawaii Office of the County Clerk Elections Division.
- Deadline to Register to Vote for the General Election is Monday, October 4, 2010.
- Absentee Walk-In Voting for the General Election starts on Tuesday, October 19, 2010 and ends on Saturday, October 30, 2010.
- Deadline to request Absentee Mail Ballot Applications for the General Election is Tuesday, October 26, 2010.
- General Election Day is on Tuesday, November 2, 2010