The number of Hawaii County residents who have registered to vote in this year’s primary election is up slightly from the 2012 primary, according to information provided by the state and county elections offices.
Absentee ballots have been going out by mail to those voters who requested them, and early walk-in voting starts Monday at four Big Island locations.
By the July 10 deadline, 103,794 voters had registered, a 2 percent increase over the 101,728 who were on the rolls for the 2012 primary and a 3.7 percent increase over 2010, the last time the governor’s race was on the ballot.
That’s 3,733 more Hawaii County voters to decide who will emerge victorious on Aug. 9 compared to the primary four years ago.
Statewide, there are 697,033 registered voters as of the deadline, with the bulk of them, 466,553, on Oahu. In addition to Hawaii County’s 103,794, there are 85,581 in Maui County and 41,165 on Kauai.
Voter registration numbers fluctuate as lists are purged during the off years, said state Elections Office spokesman Rex Quidilla. Registration figures top out just before the general election, he said. The registration deadline for that election is Oct. 6.
“All of the counties do list maintenance during that year, and then it leapfrogs in the general,” Quidilla said.
Election Day voting has become less and less of the trend, as more people chose to vote using absentee ballots by mail or at early voting walk-in sites. In the 2012 primary, 43,353 people voted, or 42.6 percent of those registered.
Just under 20 percent of registered voters went to the precinct on Election Day for the 2012 primary, compared to 23 percent who voted by mail or at early walk-in sites.
Hawaii County Elections Administrator Pat Nakamoto said her office mailed out 22,468 absentee mail ballots and received back 5,351 as of Thursday.
Early walk-in voting for the primary election begins Monday and continues through Aug. 7. Early walk-in voting for the general election is Oct. 21 to Nov. 1, according to the state Office of Elections.
In Kailua-Kona, early walk-in voting is available at the West Hawaii Civic Center’s Community Room (Building G) between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The civic center is located at 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway.
In South Kohala, early walk-in voting is available at the Waimea Community Center between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. The center is located at 65-1260 Kawaihae Road in Waimea.
Hawaii County is reopening an early voting location at the Pahala Community Center in Ka‘u.
“We looked at the statistics, looked at the numbers,” Nakamoto told Stephens Media Hawaii. “It kind of warranted opening the Pahala Community Center.”
The Pahala Community Center will be open for early walk-in voting between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m, with the exception of a lunch hour between noon and 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. The center is located at 96-1149 Kamani St. in Pahala.
In Hilo, early walk-in voting is available at the Aupuni Center Conference Room between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The center is located at 101 Pauahi St. in Hilo.