LIHU‘E — Alynn DaCosta sat down at 11:45 a.m. on Tuesday in the Pi‘ikoi Building to cast her first-ever ballot.
“In my 50 years, this is the most important election,” DaCosta said. “That’s why I’m here, to make a difference right now.”
DaCosta registered to vote online earlier this month, and came into Lihu‘e from Waimea to vote in person as her daughter, Dasha, passed her driver’s permit test next door.
“I feel like I grew up today,” DaCosta said.
With less than a week to the general election, Office of the County Clerk Elections Division Elections Administrator Lyndon Yoshioka said voting has been “really, really good.”
As of Saturday, the Elections Division had received about 19,800 ballots, or about 42% of registered voters’ ballots. Kaua‘i has about 47,253 registered voters, according to Yoshioka.
Ballots are received by the office, separated, sorted and scanned by volunteers who have signed non-disclosure agreements.
Deputy County Clerk Scott Sato of the Council Services Division was down in the basement of the Elections Division office Tuesday, too, with volunteer James Oyadomari. Both have helped to process ballots before.
During the primary, Sato helped to answer phones and questions of residents trying to vote.
Oyadomari, who sat socially distanced next to Sato, has been processing ballots for at least 15 years, and called himself an “old-timer,” enjoying doing his part.
Helena Cooney, in her bright-orange shirt, is an observer selected by a local political party to help oversee the chain-of-custody and balloting process. She said she prefers the mail-in election system, saying it’s safer.
“There is zero fraud,” she said. “There is no way to add or take away a ballot with these bright-orange shirts watching.”
Down the street, voting in person was Ashley Mercado with daughter Estela.
Residents can register in-person to vote at the Pi‘ikoi Building Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through this Monday, Nov. 2.
The Voter Service Center will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3, election day.
Voters may also drop off ballots at the following locations up until 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3: Hanalei Neighborhood Center, Princeville fire station, Kilauea Neighborhood Center, Kapa‘a fire station, Elections Division office, Koloa Neighborhood Center, Kalaheo fire station, Hanapepe fire station or Waimea Neighborhood Center.