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Special coverage of the 2020 general election airs and streams on Hawaii Public Radio beginning Tuesday, Nov. 3, at 2 p.m. Hear NPR analysis and local insights into the results and the aftermath airing on HPR-1 and streaming on hawaiipublicradio.org and our mobile app.

On Historic Election Day, Expect Long Lines At Voter Centers

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Hawaii residents have until 7 p.m. Tuesday to cast their ballots in one of the most pivotal elections in the country’s modern history.

The sounds of about a dozen voters echoed in Honolulu Hale on Monday, the day before the election. It is one of the two places where Oahu residents can still cast their vote. 

Some voters who came to the voting center in-person explained why they decided not to mail in their ballots.

“I never got a mail in ballot. It got lost somehow. So I figured I need to come down here and vote,” Betty Zito said.

“It’s just more convenient,” said Anastasia Michaels. “And it made sure that it was really recorded.”

Aaron Meyers explained that he just moved to Hawaii.

“I spent the last two weeks on quarantine,” he said. “Today was pretty much the last day to get everything done. And I'm so happy it worked out that we could do it.”

Honolulu Chief Clerk Glen Takahashi noticed some patterns among those voting in-person.

“One out of three voters is doing some kind of address work on their voter file, meaning that either they need to update or they're registering for the first time,” he said. 

“The other two-thirds of the voters, I'm not certain if it was just a preference that they want to vote in person or maybe they didn't get their mail or something like that.”

He estimated about 60,000 of the 489,000 ballots mailed out have had some type of postal issue, preventing some from getting their ballot.

Takahashi thought today would be much busier, and voters should prepare for longer lines.

“If you do come out to our service centers, please expect the line because it is the very last day,” he said. "We will move the line along but we're trying to keep social distance and people separated.”

Takahashi observed more people than ever appear to be wearing candidate campaign attire or bringing in signs when they vote. Both are prohibited.

“We're gonna ask you to cover it or remove the campaign paraphernalia. We've had good cooperation with most of the persons,” he said. “Most people who have done that, I don't know if they've done it intentionally, or whatnot. My advice is leave that at home because we are going to ask you to cover up, or take off your hat or whatever it is.”

In-person voting runs until 7 p.m. at both Honolulu Hale and Kapolei Hale. Voter service centers are also open on other islands. Check the state Office of Elections website for locations.

Those still in line at that last hour and those who submit their ballot in deposit boxes by the deadline will still have their votes counted.

Watch and listen to live special coverage of national and local elections beginning today at 2 p.m. on HPR-1 and streaming on hawaiipublicradio.org and our mobile app.

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