Mahalo for voting Hawaii! The Aloha State doesn’t have to finish last for voter turnout this year. Get out there and vote! — CNN’s Change the List
Help us bring change to places and issues that need it most. This CNN experiment is led by John D. Sutter.
Your thoughtful messages (find 47 of them here) convinced three of these nonvoters in Hawaii to vote on Tuesday, two of them for the first time. One of them, Michael Remen, said he decided to vote because of a single message, sent from a total stranger on the Internet. This was part of CNN’s Change the List. We’re trying to boost voter participation in Hawaii, the state with the lowest turnout. Many, many thanks to all who sent in messages.
Yo Internets, we need your help! Send messages to these six people in Hawaii — and help CNN bump the Aloha State off the bottom of the ranks for voter participation. Details here.
Lahaina, Hawaii (CNN) — Elle Cochran grew up far too enchanted by Maui’s rocky coastline andbeach-bum lifestyle to care a thing about politics and voting. “You get up, work, go to the beach, sleep — and do it again,” she said of life on this Hawaiian island, which, of course, is known for its surf. “It’s just this routine.” But after a real estate project was proposed on Honolua Bay — a cliff-lined cove near her home that’s known for its ruler-straight waves — she decided to do something that’s bizarre for a non-voter. She ran for county council. “I never voted until I ran for office,” she said.
The nail that sticks out gets hammered.
Sam Slom, an affable guy who looks like a handsome, less bat-like version of Ross Perot, is the only Republican state senator in Hawaii. Everyone else — every senator but him — is a Democrat.
Maybe that shouldn’t be surprising in such a blue-blue state like Hawaii, land of the unions and home of President Obama. But I still was taken aback when I heard that statistic. So I met with Slom at his office park east of Honolulu on Thursday because I wondered what that’s like — to be literally the only person in his legislative body representing an entire set of political philosophies and ideologies.
It sounds like you need a strong personality to pull it off.
Subject: Low voter turnout; polling place controversies
CNN interview with the island of Hawaii's county clerk
Here’s the audio recording of my Wednesday interview with the county clerk on the Big Island of Hawaii. Jamae Kawauchi is at the center of a controversy over how the county handled the primary elections this year. Several polling places opened late. Confusion set in. Some voters were turned away or left polling places without voting. One told me the mess caused him to lose confidence in the system. He’s unlikely to vote in November.
At the top of the interview, we also discuss several county initiatives designed to increase voter awareness and participation in a state where less than half of the eligible population cast a ballot in the 2008 presidential race. Questions about the primary election controversy start at about the half-way mark. Pardon the rough cut and tinny audio quality, by the way. I recorded and trimmed this on my phone.