LIHUE — Cloudy skies and light showers didn’t stop construction worker Joe Duronslet from registering to vote Monday morning as he stood underneath the tent outside of the Historic County Building, filling out his paperwork.
“It’s the biggest election to date and I at least have to have a say in it,” Duronslet said. “Whether or not which side you pick, it’s good to at least express yourself and have your chance to stand up for what you think is right.”
The combination of the Columbus Day holiday and bad weather left county clerk Jade K. Fountain-Tanigawa skeptical about residents coming to register Monday, citing how people are always finding excuses not to register. The Kauai Chamber of Commerce urged the public to go out and register on Monday.
Eighty-seven residents went to the Historic County Building to register between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday, according to the Kauai Office of Elections. Seventy-four residents used the register drive-thru offered by the county while 13 residents turned in their paperwork to the Office of Elections.
“It’s something so simple as the rain, but that really would stop some people from driving by to register,” Fountain-Tanigawa said.
Monday marked the last day for residents to vote for the upcoming general election happening on Nov. 8. According to Fountain-Tanigawa, coming out to vote this year is crucial.
“It’s very, very important,” Fountain-Tanigawa said. “Our voter turnout was a little lower than expected during the primary election, more so than the general election. I think people have more of a vested interest in what’s going to happen, so they really need to turn up. We are expecting a lot more people to turn out for the general, but that’s normal because of what’s at stake. There will also be charter amendments on the ballot in this election, so it’s especially important for voters to come out.”
Of 43,036 residents registered to vote on Kauai in the primary election earlier this year, just 15,273 people came out and voted, 35.5 percent, according to the Kauai Office of Elections.
For Fountain-Tanigawa, seeing voters like Duronslet registering is a good sign of things to come, even if Duronslet felt that he was pushed into voting in this election.
“My dad kinda forced me to come out here, but to not vote would be just abusing my right to do so,” Duronslet said. “I’m blessed to be able to come out here and vote instead of being lazy.”
Duronslet is on the fence on who to vote for in the presidential race.
“I don’t even know which side to pick,” Duronslet said. “It’s like Playstation vs. Xbox: Why can’t there just be one console?”
Alyssa Friedberg, a physical therapist who moved to Kauai two months ago from Washington, said that it’s her duty to come out and participate in what’s going on in the country.
“There’s nothing like waiting until the last minute to register,” Friedberg said. “It’s the right thing to do. I think if you have an opinion about anything, if you live in the U.S., it’s important to do it. I feel like everyone is complaining about the two choices, but you have to pick the lesser of two evils.”
Early walk-in voting will be available from Oct. 25 to Nov. 5 at the Lihue Neighborhood Center from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The general election is Nov. 8.