Hawai‘i had the lowest voter turnout of any state in the last presidential election. What do you think about that?

Image by Patrick Hascall

Image by Patrick Hascall

It’s surprising to me. Hawai‘i’s very own Obama was on the ticket. The fact that we did have the lowest voter turnout is also not surprising to me. We’re alienated out here. It’s one of the most isolated places in the world. I think Hawai‘i sometimes feels like its voice doesn’t matter. Our voices do matter though. If D.C. is 4,000 miles away, it means we have to use outside voices and then some. We’re more than mai tais and Waikiki sunsets. We’re a proud and diverse state–we deserve to be heard too.

– Austin Weihmiller

 

I think our people here in Hawai‘i has given up. Many of our leaders are corrupt! Most of them is all about themselves and money. They forget about the Hawaiians who are struggling to have their needs met (housing, food, job, wages, school, children). We need our land back!

– Shirley Ramseyer

 

That actually makes sense to me. I was born and raised on this island, and if there is anything I can tell you about the people here, it’s that they don’t like change very much. Many choose not to be involved at all in politics because they are simply not interested. We are all on Hawaiian time. Also, it would be hard to get everyone to register and actually show up to vote.

– Chris Clairmont

 

People in Hawai‘i, however interested or uninterested in politics, think that their votes are not significant. They believe that our islands are so small that we do not have an impact on the outcome of the voting process, so why bother.

Many just do not have the information to make a certain determination of who they want to vote for. Many are uneducated in the process or do not want to know about it all together. All they see is negativity in politics and propaganda and make a decision to want no part of it.

Could it be that they are just lazy to come out to vote? Or just waiting for the fates to decide who will be voted into office?

In my case, I am a local person living on O‘ahu and am very torn in who I should elect. I feel as though I would be picking the lesser of two evils and really believe our candidates are shady in our system of politics.

I wish as a resident, I could be more confident of my thinking in the way of voting these candidates and be sure they were best for our country. I am conflicted both physically and spiritually. I believe as a Christian, God establishes our authority in government. So I will vote to the best of my ability and knowledge and hope for the best.

– Carman N. Santiago

 

I really didn’t understand anything about voting because at 47 years old never in my life have I been able to vote because of my background and the choices I’ve made in my life. With a criminal record, my right to vote was taken away. Recently, my record has been expunged. So I never cared about voting or what happens. Now my voice will be heard after 47 years. I’ll find out more on why and how I can be a part of my society. Never thought about it!

– Nathan Kelekolio

 

To be honest, I think that is very sad that Hawai‘i had the lowest voter turnout of any state in the presidential election. I as a voter am shocked to hear such news. Let’s just hope Hawai‘i doesn’t have anything to grumble about since majority of them didn’t vote. Shame on those who didn’t vote! And to top it all off, Hawai‘i voted for Trump? That is insane.

– Shasidy Kalilikane

 

Hawai‘i has historically had marginal voter participation. There have been many theories on why. The main reason being because Hawai‘i’s “remoteness” in relation to the mainland shields Hawai‘i from the constant, round-the-clock coverage of our nation’s politics. This, in addition to perfect yearround weather, contributes to our relaxed attitude about American politics. It’s easy to see this as “not relevant” to our daily lives. I find that I’m much more “out of touch” with what is happening on the mainland. It seems a world apart from my daily life here in Hawai‘i.

– Angie Lanier

 

Hawai‘i’s voters feel disenfranchised. Hawai‘i is a Democrat-dominated state and is one of the last states to vote for the general election in November. Often, presidential candidates skip over Hawai‘i because they feel it is not a practical use of time and resources. Hawai‘i can offer a candidate a mere six delegates, so candidates rarely come to Hawai‘i to campaign. This lack of attention toward Hawai‘i in the presidential election, paired with the fact that the winner is often predicted before Hawai‘i finishes voting, causes voters to feel unwanted and not important/not valued. This leads to apathetic voters who feel disenfranchised, thereby explaining the staggering levels of voter turnouts.

– Russell Elting

 

I think it’s an absolute shame that more people didn’t turn out this year. This election season has been the most important in recent history, and the importance of voting cannot be overstated. It shows how little the politicians care about Hawai‘i and how little people who live/vote in Hawai‘i care about the broader issues facing our country. I believe many people that live here are somewhat “privileged” with a disconnect from mainland drama, but what people don’t realize is that this election turnout will affect us in big ways.

– Kyle Leland

 

I believe Hawai‘i had the lower voter turnout in the last presidential election because voters here feel that they are disenfranchised. One reason for that is because by the time the polls close, the rest of the country’s polls have been closed for hours. Therefore our four electoral votes don’t mean much. Secondly, it could be that because our four electoral votes don’t have much impact, we are less enthusiastic about voting. Lastly, as a homegrown woman who has also lived on the mainland, most mainland rules, customs and ideas don’t have much impact here. The sad truth is that most other parts of the U.S. forget we are part of the U.S.

– Jean Bishop

 

It’s important for us to find someone (as a country) that can lead us down the right path. Someone who can look at all sides of a problem and still make the best choice. Even if it’s one that might not be in favor. I believe that the people of Hawai‘i are smart. I think that many don’t for a few reasons. Reason one: “Does it make a difference?” Reason two: “I don’t like any of the candidates.” And reason three: “It’s a way for us to rebel against the broken system.” I also do believe that many feel that us (the people of Hawai‘i) is such a small number that our voices are not heard. It really doesn’t matter what we want. I am kind of sad that we don’t have a large pull in polls for the elections. But hey, the world isn’t always fair.

– Andrew Livingston

 

The lack of public interest in presidential elections in the state of Hawai‘i can be attributed primarily to the fact that due to the structure of our presidential elections, voters in Hawai‘i just don’t matter that much in the end. As we learned in the Bush v. Gore election of 2000, the popular vote doesn’t decide the winner; the electoral college does. In the electoral college, each state is assigned a certain number of votes based on the percentage of the U.S. population they contain with the minimum being three. Hawai‘i receives four. Consequently, candidates running for president hardly bother visiting or campaigning in Hawai‘i, preferring to stay in places like California or Texas who have over 80 electoral college votes. This system needlessly complicated and takes the power to elect their president away from the people, which is the cause of a lot of voter apathy.

– Bryson Cheung

 

This still amazes me because Obama is from Hawai‘i, and Hawai‘i is a Democratic state by nature. But then again, Hawai‘i never has a big turnout on voting day, and that might be because it’s a Democratic state and why bother. I assume the consensus among Hawai‘i voters is that the Democrats are going to win even if I don’t vote. Also in presidential races, Hawai‘i’s votes are the last to be counted because of our time difference, and again why bother my vote doesn’t make a difference. Definitely attitudes need to change in Hawai‘i because every single vote does count. I think it is time for the candidates to start doing knock and greets again and for the presidential candidates to make more trips to Hawai‘i to get our locals recharged and patriotic to do their duty as an American and vote.

– Donita Garcia