by HFC Staff
The August 13 Primary Election is approaching! Aside from learning more about election candidates, checking voting requirements and knowing the voting process are a must to ensure that you can cast your vote.
Hawaii voted by mail for the first time in the last election. The 2020 elections saw a huge voter turnout for Hawaii: 51.2% in the Primary and 69.6% in the General.
For Hawaii’s second vote-by-mail election, Hawaii Filipino Chronicle is here to break down the voting process to help you cast your vote hassle-free.
Prepare to vote
In this year’s election ballot, you will vote for candidates in the U.S. Senate, U.S. Congressional Districts, Hawaii Governor, Hawaii Lt. Governor, State Senate, State House, Maui Mayor, Kauai Mayor, City Council, County Council, and Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
Do your research to learn more about your district’s candidates and their platforms to improve the community. Reading about their backgrounds and priorities will help you cast an educated vote. Hawaii Filipino Chronicle’s supplement cover story features Filipino American Candidates running this primary election. While HFC’s June and July issues featured Q&A portions with top U.S. Congressional and Hawaii Gubernatorial candidates.
Verify eligibility to vote
Now that you’re ready to support your candidates by casting your vote, it’s important to verify your voting eligibility first. To register to vote in Hawaii, you must be a U.S. citizen, a resident of Hawaii, and at least 18 years old.
To register to vote, you can do so online at olvr.hawaii.gov. Prepare your Hawaii Driver’s License or Hawaii State ID card, and your Social Security Number. You can also update your existing voter registration and confirm your voter registration address at the same website.
Vote by mail
After confirming your voter registration address online, now it’s time to wait for your voting ballot to arrive at that address.
You will receive your mail ballot packet 18 days before the election. For the Primary, you will receive the ballot as early as July 26. For the General elections, expect the ballot to arrive by October 21.
The mail ballot packet consists of a ballot, ballot secrecy sleeve, and a prepaid postage return ballot envelope. Once you have cast your vote into the ballot, fold it and place it inside the ballot secrecy sleeve before putting it back into the return ballot envelope. Make sure to write your signature on the return ballot envelope.
Returning the mail ballot is simple. You can return it by mail or in-person by dropping the mail ballot at an official drop box location within your county. The drop box is a big orange box with large text written on it, “OFFICIAL BALLOT DROP BOX.” For the full list of drop box locations, visit honolulu.gov/elections/voting/official-drop-box-locations.html.
Your County Elections Division must receive your voted ballots by 7 pm on Election Day: August 13 Primary and November 8 General.
Vote in person
Just like the 2020 Elections, this year will be primarily voting by mail with no polling stations available. However, Voter Service Centers will open 10 days before Election Day to provide accessible in-person voting and same-day voter registration. For the full list of locations and hours, head to elections.hawaii.gov/voter-service-centers-and-places-of-deposit/.
Your vote counts
Upon receiving your return mail ballot, County Elections Division will validate the signature on the return envelope to confirm your identity. The division verifies your return envelope signature by checking the signature on file in your voter registration record. If the return envelope is not signed, your ballot will not be counted.
Once your mail ballot is scanned and verified, you will not be able to vote in person to avoid duplication of votes. If you voted in person, your mail ballot packet will not be accepted.
For more information about voting in Hawaii elections, visit elections.hawaii.gov.
by HFC Staff