LIHUE — Noa Kaaumoana drove up to the drive-thru voter registration set up in front of the Historic County Building, got out of his truck and walked up to the booth.
“Today is the last day, yah?” Kaaumoana asked the county employees, smiling. “I have never voted before in my life.”
“All we need is for you to complete this top section here, the questions here, one, two and three, sign and date and this side here is if you’d like to receive the ballot by mail,” said Maile Ka‘auwai, of the elections office. “It goes to your residence address. Go ahead and complete this form.”
He began filling out the form and asked questions when he had them.
“Are you a resident of the United States?” Ka‘auwai asked him.
“No, but yeah,” he laughed. “We’ll get our kingdom back soon.”
The county employees, who had taken on the second shift of the day, told The Garden Island they had seen about a dozen people at the drive-thru voter registration between noon and 3 p.m.
Thursday was the final day to register to vote in the primary election on Aug. 13.
People would come in bursts, Maile Ka‘auwai said. She and Tina Pikini were waiting to see if they would get a rush at the end of the day.
Drive-thru registrations Wednesday and Thursday totaled 85, said Lyndon Yoshiaka, elections administrator at the office of the county clerk.
As far as online voter registration activity from noon on Wednesday to end of day Thursday, there were 133 transactions, which included 43 new registrations and 90 updates or re-registrations, he said.
There are 43, 389 registered voters on Kauai.
“I had friends bugging me about voting and I thought I could make a difference,” Kaaumoana said. “Even a little difference. I just see some new faces that are coming out to run and I think that we need some new blood in there.”
Lois Andersson said she and her husband vote because it’s an important hard-fought right. And she’s concerned about the presidential election.
“People are very apathetic about things these days and it’s not cool,” said Lois Andersson. “Right now, we have the lesser of two evils. Both are really crappy choices. One is just less crappy than the other.”
Ken Kazao Tazaki said voting is important, so he was also at the drive-thru voter registration Wednesday with a friend.
Sometimes you vote because you care about your family.
“I got my Auntie Kanoe and my Uncle Bernabe running,” said Seraiah Yata. “I have family running. There are so many issues facing Kauai, I wouldn’t know where to start.”
Ernette Moreno Sanchez said she just moved to Kauai, but is starting to understand some of the issues on island. She said voters need to make sure the right people get into office.
“There is a homeless situation that needs to be addressed on Kauai,” she said. “As far as nationwide, equal rights for all people. I don’t want to see anybody left out or discriminated against or eliminated.”
Moreno Sanchez said that recently, Americans have had their constitutional rights violated.
“We don’t want to go backward because we have come so far,” she said. “That’s why we have to make sure that the right person is in office. To reverse things would be a tragedy to the country.”