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Candidates taking care as they lobby for votes

Date Posted: 2009-07-30

Okinawa’s warm weather is of particular concern to candidates gearing up to run in the House of Representatives election August 30th.

Most election campaign offices have no air conditioning, and are cooled only by electric fans, so staff members are giving their bosses words of wisdom like “don’t forget to take water with you” or “take daytime naps, because the danger of heat injuries is worse when you’re full after lunch.” Many campaign offices are prefab buildings, and none have air conditioning.

A few candidates who began planning ahead after talk of new elections was first discussed last November have better campaign facilities than others. Some candidates built their own campaign offices, which are more comfortable. Campaign managers say the costs of rent, utilities and payroll for office staff make finding extra money for air conditioning simply unaffordable. Still, they concede that “people don’t like to visit our offices without air conditioning.” Others lament “there isn’t enough money to put air conditioning into prefab offices.”

The other problem confronting campaigns is getting workers. From municipality to municipality, election administration committees are saying “in the summer vacation time it is hard to get help from young people. They don’t even want to go vote, and we’re concerned university student voting rates will be going down.” With vacation season in progress, campaign officials predict the students will either be leaving Okinawa, or simply holing up and not going out in the heat. For whatever reasons the students don’t turn out, the summer heat is being blamed for affecting the voting rate.

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