III. Primary Updates
Statewide primaries went off without a hitch this week and that may be largely due to the fact that turnout was incredibly low. Although final numbers aren’t in yet, in Juneau it’s believed that as few as 1 in 5 registered voters bothered to cast a ballot. Although a count of mail ballots will likely boost the turnout a bit, it is expected to go down as one of the worst turnouts ever.
Despite early voting and an increasing number of people voting by mail, turnout in this week’s primary in Hawaii hit record-level lows. Only 34.7 percent of registered voters bothered to cast ballots. In all, 251,959 people voted. The previous low was set in 2008 at 36.9 percent.
About 15 percent of Hawaii County’s registered voters took advantage of early voting, and while that number is growing, it’s still small. “I think elections should be something that builds the community,” voter Alec Richardson told the Hawaii Tribune Herald. Saturday, minutes after voting at Hilo High School. “And when you send in a form from home, you’re not really participating in the community as a whole. I think coming in is a way to build community.”
Voters headed to the polls in Wyoming on Tuesday and as was the case with many other states holding non-presidential primaries, turnout was low. But despite the low turnout, poll workers and voters alike both commented on the efficiency of the new digital sign-in process in Natrona County.
There were reports of confusion in Natrona County after the county consolidated polling places for the primary. The county moved from 45 voting locations in 2014 to 26 this year.