Hawaii Primary Election Stifled by Minimal Vote Centers, Long Lines

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  • Sandy Ma Executive Director of Common Cause Hawaii (808) 275-6275 sma@commoncause.org

Maui County must add additional Voter Service Centers for truly fair and inclusive elections

Hawaii’s primary election took place Saturday, August 13th, and was plagued by hours-long lines prompted by only one Voter Service Center on Maui island. On Maui island, only one voting location was open, where voters began lining up prior to its opening at 7:00 AM. The lines at the Wailuku Voter Service Center continued all day. As the line continued throughout the day in the hot sun, tensions reached a head when an altercation nearly broke out, forcing the authorities to be called. Common Cause Hawaii urges election officials to course-correct and add more Voter Service Centers ahead of the 2022 midterm election to address this continued issue. 

Hawaii has been in desperate need of more Voter Service Centers since the 2020 general election. Prior to this year’s primary day, the Maui Elections Division added an additional in-person voting location in Hana on Maui Island that was closed on Saturday without explanation. What followed was nearly identical to events that transpired in 2020, with lines that made it difficult to cast a ballot in person and causing delays that lasted hours. 

“This doesn’t have to keep happening. Neither the people of Maui nor any Hawaii citizen should have to wait hours to cast their vote in person at the ballot box to make their voices heard,” said Sandy Ma, Executive Director of Common Cause Hawaii. “Democracy in Hawaii only works when it’s accessible to everyone. Adding more places to vote makes participating in our democracy easier for everyone, including Native Hawaiians and disadvantaged communities, and would make a drastic difference in long wait times. Voting by mail was to help make voting more accessible – not less.”

All people of Hawaii deserve a democracy they can be a part of. For truly inclusive representation, voters deserve a place where they can easily cast their ballot in person prior to and through November 8th, no matter where they live. Common Cause urges election officials to add additional Voter Service Centers on Oahu in Waianae, Nanakuli, Ewa Beach, Pearl City, Laie and Waimanalo; on Maui in Hana, Lahaina, Kihei and Makawao; on Kauai in Poipu and Anahola; and on Hawaii island in Pahoa, Waimea, Volcano and Honokaa.

See More: Voting & Elections