While many states across the U.S. grapple with how to proceed with the 2020 elections, Hawaii is one step ahead. Last year, before anyone had heard of COVID-19, the Hawaii State Legislature passed Act 136 making the historic decision that our elections would be all-mail voting. The law removed the use of precinct polling locations where voters used to cast their ballots on Election Day, and replaced this with an all-mail system.
Voters need to register by July 9, to receive a ballot in the mail for the August 8, 2020 Primary Election. You can register to vote or check your registration status online at https://olvr.hawaii.gov/. You can also verify your status by calling the Clerk’s office at (808) 270-7749.
If you are properly registered, you should have received a postcard in January providing important dates and deadlines and another in April asking you to provide a sample of your signature. It is important to return the second postcard so that the County Election Officials can update the voter registration rolls. If you did not receive a postcard, now would be a good time to verify your voter registration status.
Ballot packets will be prepared and mailed to active and properly registered voters approximately three weeks before the Primary Election date. When you receive your ballot, you can vote. Make sure you completely fill in the box to the left of your candidate choices with a black or blue pen and review all the instructions and contests (on both sides of the ballot). For the Primary Election state races it is also extremely important that you select a party and vote solely within that party. Be aware. “Cross-voting” between parties will invalidate the vote. For questions regarding the Primary “pick-a-party” process, please contact the Clerk’s office at (808) 270-7749.
Once you have cast your votes, simply place the ballot in the secrecy envelope, and then place into the return envelope. Important reminder: Be sure to sign the return envelope’s affirmation statement, as without your signature your vote will not be verified and therefore not counted! The return envelope is postage paid via the U.S. Postal Service and addressed to the County Clerk’s Office. All ballots must be received by the Clerk’s Office by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day, so mail it no later than August 5. Postmarks do not count! You can also hand-deliver the return envelope to the Clerk’s office on the 7th floor of the Kalana O Maui Building located at 200 S. High Street in Wailuku.
The County Elections Division will also establish “Places of Deposit” located throughout the County beginning five days prior to Election Day. “Voter Service Centers” will be available ten business days prior to the Primary Election, countywide, for the purpose of receiving personal delivery of mail-in ballots, accommodating voters with special needs and to offer same day registration and voting. Locations for both can be found in the “2020 Proclamation” at https://elections.hawaii.gov or by calling the Clerks Office at 270-7749.
Voter Mail-in Registration Deadline: Postmarked by 7/9/20
Voter Service Centers Open: 8am – 4:30pm, 7/27/20
Absentee Ballot Request Deadline: 8/1/20
Primary Election: August 8, 2020
If you make a mistake, change your mind before sending it back, misplace, or damage your ballot, you may request a replacement ballot from the Clerk’s Office. However, once your return ballot is received by the Clerk’s Office, your vote has been cast. Voters who are off island during the election and registered to vote in Hawaii may apply for a One-Time-Seasonal-Absentee Ballot. Simply complete the One-Time-Absentee Ballot application and indicate where you would like your ballot to be mailed.
The Primary Election is important as it determines which candidates can run in the General Election in November. For State candidate races you can only vote for candidates representing your district. For the County races you can vote for all nine seats, as Councilmembers are elected to represent the entire county. A County Primary will only occur if three or more candidates are vying for the two name options put forward for the General Election.
These elections are a perfect opportunity to help create a better future. What happens in Maui County depends on who votes!
Image Credit: The County of Maui