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Voting Comes to You

Posted on Dec 23, 2019 in Blog

Voting Comes to You

Voting. Many of us who hear that word conjure up images of voters at polling places casting their ballots. This has defined voting in Hawaii for years, however, starting in 2020, voting in Hawaii will be shifting to a new model.

The passage of Act 136 earlier this year implements elections by mail. Voting now comes to you, the voter. By conducting elections by mail voting is no longer a location that you go to during designated hours, it is an action you engage in.

Ahead of the 2020 Elections, we will be sending out election mailings to every registered voter providing essential election information. Voters should expect to receive a postcard in January providing important dates and deadlines. Another postcard will arrive in April asking voters to provide a sample of their signature so that county election officials can update the voter registration rolls with current signatures.

As a voter, we ask you to be on the lookout for these postcards. If you receive a postcard and it is properly addressed to you, no further action is required. If you do not receive a postcard, we ask that you verify your voter registration status. You can go online at olvr.hawaii.gov or call our office to verify your registration status.

It is critical that voters keep their voter registration record current because your mail ballot packet will be sent to your mailing address. The mail ballot packet is not forwardable. If you have moved and your voter registration record has an outdated address, your mail ballot packet will not be delivered to you. So be sure to update your voter registration if you have moved or changed your name.

The Vote by Mail Process

For voters who have voted by mail in previous elections, your experience will remain unchanged. If you are new to voting by mail, expect to receive your mail ballot packet 18 days prior to Election Day. The ballot packet will include a ballot, ballot secrecy sleeve, pre-paid return envelope, and voting instructions. If you make a mistake on your ballot, a replacement ballot may be requested through your County Elections Division.

When returning your voted ballot, you are required to sign the return envelope. Your signature is used to confirm your identity by verifying it against the signature associated with your voter registration record. If there is an issue with the return envelope, like a mismatched or missing signature, the County Elections Division will notify you and allow you to correct the deficiency within five days after the election. You have the option to mail your ballot or to drop it off at a voter service center or at a place of deposit. We would recommend that voters drop their voted ballot in the mail at least 3 days prior to Election Day to ensure it is received by the close of voting in Election Day. The County Elections Divisions will establish places of deposit beginning 5 days prior to Election Day to collect voted ballots ensuring voters can return their voted ballot by the 7:00 pm deadline on Election Day regardless of expected mailing timeline.

Additionally, the County Elections Divisions will open voter service centers beginning on the tenth business day prior to Election Day. At a voter service center, voters can update their voter registration, register and vote, drop-off their voted ballot, or vote using accessible voting equipment. Since every voter is provided a mail ballot packet, the focus of the voter service center is to provide support services to assist voters and ensure all citizens have the opportunity to cast their vote. For example, if you make an error on your ballot and there is not enough time to get another by mail – visit a voter service center.

A list of voter service centers and places of deposit will be published in May 2020 through a joint proclamation by the Office of Elections and County Elections Divisions and will also posted on our website.

We encourage voters to stay up-to-date with the 2020 Elections by following us on Facebook, twitter, and Instagram at @elections808. And don’t forget to visit our website at elections.hawaii.gov for official election and voting information.