High voter turnout across Kauai

LIHUE — Despite some confusion and delays at the polls, voter turnout was high across the Garden Isle on Saturday and a lot of new people signed up, according to the Kauai Democratic Party.

Sixty-eight percent of Kauai Democrats showed up at the polls Saturday to vote across the island, 77 percent of them for Bernie Sanders and 23 percent of them for Hillary Clinton, according to figures from the Hawaii Democratic Party.

Of the three election districts in Kauai, No. 14 had the highest turnout for the Democratic Presidential Preference Poll, said Susan Wilson, Kauai Democratic Party, District 14, Chair.

The five precincts in District 14 brought in 1,390 people, while District 15 and District 16 brought in 696 and 570, respectively, for a total of 2,656 ballots cast islandwide and the preferred candidate was Sanders. Two ballots cast were uncommitted.

In District 15, where the majority of voters were from the Wailua Homesteads, Sanders was the popular choice, said Janice Bond, precinct president.

“Voter turnout was predicted to be high by the Hawaii Democratic Party and it certainly was in District 14,” she said. “It was more than double the other precincts.”

Although none of the District 14 precincts ran out of ballots, volunteers were filing lots of paperwork including voter registrations, Hawaii Democratic membership forms and sign-in sheets.

“The actual voter turnout way exceeded those sort of pre-stocked supplies in short order,” Wilson said.

Two Kapaa precincts ran out of their 300-plus voter registration forms within the first hour and half of polling, Wilson said.

“Fortunately, there was a business copy center open in Kapaa where more Voter Registration forms and Hawaii Democratic Party Membership forms could be printed up,” she said.

Lines at the Kapaa Neighborhood Center, the Lihue Neighborhood Center and the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center snaked around the door.

“We had people lined up by noon ready to vote,” said Aria Juliet, spokesperson for the Kauai Young Democrats.

As for the preferred candidate across the islands, Bernie Sanders won easy with about 23,530 ballots cast in his favor, taking roughly 70 percent of the vote, while his opponent Hillary Clinton 10,125 ballots cast for her at the Democratic caucus Saturday.

On Kauai, many voters experienced being turned away and asked to go to other neighborhood centers because they were voting at the wrong center.

District 14 Vice Chair Judith Fernandez said because the poll was run by the Democratic party and not by the state, the precinct locations were consolidated and instead of being at schools, this year they were at neighborhood centers.

Voters who lived in the Wailua Homesteads and who showed up at the Kapaa Neighborhood Center were asked to head into Lihue Neighborhood Center.

In Kalaheo (Precinct 16-2), about three people showed up to from Hanapepe and Eleele and were told to go to the Kaumakani Neighborhood Center, Juliet said.

The Kalaheo Neighborhood Center had a total of eight volunteers and more than 220 people showed up to vote, Juliet said. All votes were counted by 3:30 p.m., she said.

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