Elections in Hawaii
The mission of the Office of Elections is to provide secure, accessible, and convenient election services to all citizens statewide.
Conduct of Elections
Hawaii elections are guided by federal and state laws including the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Help America Vote Act of 2003, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS), and Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR). Click here to view Hawaii Election Laws.
The Office of Elections is responsible for candidate filing, printing and counting of ballots, and maximizing and equalizing voter registration. We work collaboratively with the Clerks’ Offices which are responsible for voter registration, mailing and receipt of ballots, places of deposit, and voter service centers.
Primary & General Elections
In every even numbered year, the State of Hawaii holds a primary election on the second Saturday in August and a general election on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Elections are conducted to fill Federal, State, and County offices and provide a vote on various ballot questions. Click here to view the Contest Schedule.
Hawaii conducts a single-party primary election. The primary election is a nomination process to choose candidates who will represent their political party at the general election. You, the voter, select the candidates of the political preference of your choice. Your choice of political preference and candidates remains secret.
When voting in the primary, you must select one political preference, and only vote for candidates within that ballot. If you vote outside your political preference or vote for more than the number of candidates allowed in a contest, your vote will not be counted.
All voters may vote on special nonpartisan contests that may appear on the primary election for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and County offices (e.g. mayor, prosecuting attorney, councilmember). Voters may select candidates of their choice for these contests regardless of the political preference selected.
In the general election, voters may choose from among the candidates nominated in the primary election. You may vote for party or nonpartisan candidates of your choice.
Additionally, special elections may be scheduled for certain vacancies that cannot be held in conjunction with the primary or general election. Hawaii does not have provisions for write-in voting and does not conduct a presidential primary.
Statewide Voting by Mail
Beginning with the 2020 Elections, Hawaii’s elections will be conducted by mail. All registered voters in the State of Hawaii will be automatically mailed a ballot to the mailing address associated with their voter registration record. You will no longer be assigned a polling place to vote on Election Day.
Voted ballots may be returned by mail or in-person at a place of deposit designated by their respective County Election Division.
Additionally, voters are provided the option to vote in-person at a voter service center. Voter service centers also offer accessible voting and same day registration.
To vote in Federal, State, or County elections, eligible citizens must register to vote.
Qualifications to register to vote:
- A U.S. Citizen
Non-U.S. citizens, including U.S. nationals do not qualify
- A resident of the State of Hawaii
The residence stated by the applicant cannot simply be because of their presence in the State, but that the residence was acquired with the intent to make Hawaii the person’s legal residence with all accompanying obligations therein.
- At least eighteen (18) years of age
Hawaii law allows qualified individuals to pre-register at sixteen (16) years of age. Upon reaching eighteen (18) years of age, they will be automatically registered and mailed a ballot.
Click here to learn more about voter registration.