Hawaii Votes EP. 4 – March 2022 – Candidate Filing
March marks the start of Candidate Filing! Hear from our Ballot Operations staff on the process of appearing on the ballot, as she provides tips and answers commonly asked questions.
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Hello and welcome to the Hawaii Votes program, brought to you by the State of Hawaii Office of Elections. In this series, we cover all things voting and serve as your guide through the 2022 Election year.
We’re your hosts, Jaime and Ray, and today’s episode is all about running for office. This month marks the start of the candidate filing period, so in this episode, we’ll dive into the process for a candidate to appear on a Hawaii ballot, and later we’ll speak to our colleague, Kristen Uyeda, who is the head of Ballot Operations. Kristen will share some tips to make the candidate filing process easier for those who are looking to run for office in 2022.
Ray, get us started with the first topic of the day.
Topic 1: Overview of becoming a candidate
Before we get into the step-by-step process of running for office, we’ll need to lay the foundation.
At the top of the show, you heard us use the term, “candidate filing” which we’ll continue to use frequently throughout the show. So, what is candidate filing?
Simply put, candidate filing is the process that allows someone to have their name appear on the ballot. This process ensures that the candidates who appear on your ballot meet the qualifications to run for office in accordance with Hawaii election law.
The candidate filing process is carried out by the Office of Elections and the four County Elections Divisions.
So when does candidate filing begin?
Candidate filing for the 2022 Elections runs from March 1 through June 7. For those of you who are familiar with the process, you may have noticed that the filing start date is later than previous elections. What caused this delay?
As you may be aware, Hawaii’s reapportionment and redistricting took place in 2021. Reapportionment and redistricting are done every 10 years to establish the boundaries of voting districts based on population. The Reapportionment Commission relies on population data prepared by the U.S. Census Bureau to carry out this process. The release of this data was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which ultimately postponed the final plan of establishing district boundaries.
As a result, solely for the 2022 Elections, the legislature moved the candidate filing start date from February to March.
Did redistricting impact candidate filing in other ways?
Yes, redistricting impacted the elections for Hawaii’s State Senators. Typically, State Senators serve a 4-year term, and their elections are staggered so that half of the seats are up for election one year, then the other half are up in the following election.
However, given that new district boundaries are established through redistricting, all State Senate seats are up for election this year and the staggering has been reset. Since State Senate elections are staggered, the Reapportionment Commission will assign a 4-year term for 13 seats and a 2-year term for the other 12 seats. The seats with 2-year terms will resume the normal 4-year term after the 2024 Elections to reinstate the staggering of the State Senate seats.
You can review the terms of office for State Senate, as well as all other elected offices, at elections.hawaii.gov.
There are a total of 117 seats up for election this year.
At the Federal level, one U.S. Senate seat and two U.S. Representative seats are up for election.
At the State level, we will be electing a Governor and a Lieutenant Governor. All 25 State Senate seats are up for election, as well as 51 State Representative seats. For the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Maui Resident Trustee, Oahu Resident Trustee, and 3 At-Large Trustee seats are up for election.
Lastly, at the County level, our Hawaii Island and Oahu voters will be electing councilmembers. And for our Maui and Kauai voters, you will have the race for mayor and councilmembers on your ballots.
To see the list of offices up for election in 2022, you can visit our website at elections.hawaii.gov.
Topic 2: Process to run for office in 2022
Let’s move on to how to file for candidacy. The following segment is addressed directly to those interested in running for office. We want to remind you that the information presented here supplements the Candidate’s Manual. The manual is available at elections.hawaii.gov, and we encourage you to review the resource for complete details.
To appear on the ballot, you must file a nomination paper. What is a nomination paper? A nomination paper is a form you use to collect signatures from registered voters eligible to vote for the office you are seeking. The number of signatures required is established by Hawaii election law.
Phase 1: Apply for a Nomination Paper
You can apply for a nomination paper in one of two ways. The first method is applying in person at an elections office. You can find the Application for Nomination Paper at elections.hawaii.gov. We recommend pre-filling your application before heading to the elections office to streamline the process.
The office you are running for determines where you must apply for your nomination papers.
For candidates on Oahu, if you are running for a federal or state office, head to our office, the state Office of Elections, to submit your application.
If you are running for a county office on Oahu, you will need to apply at the City and County of Honolulu’s Elections Division.
Candidates residing in Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai counties must apply at your County Elections Division.
The second method to apply, which we have newly introduced this year, is the online Candidate System, found at elections.hawaii.gov. The tool allows you to apply entirely online and generates a nomination paper that can be printed from home and immediately used for collecting signatures.
Phase 2: Collecting Signatures
Once you have been issued your nomination paper, you can begin to collect signatures. Your nomination paper identifies the number of required signatures for the office you are seeking. A valid signature must include the signee’s first and last names, signature, residence address, and month and day of birth.
The signee’s information will be used to verify that they are a registered voter in the district that you are seeking office. For example, if you are seeking to run for State Representative in House District 12, election officials will verify that the signees on your nomination paper are registered to vote and are residents of House District 12.
We recommend obtaining more signatures than required, and filing well ahead of the candidate filing deadline, in case you have invalid or unqualified signatures and need to go back out and collect more. Remember, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have gathered the minimum number of signatures required to file your nomination paper. Once you have gathered signatures, what’s next?
Phase 3: Filing Your Nomination Paper
Your next step is to file your nomination paper. If you applied in person, file your nomination paper at the same office. For those who applied online, please head to the following locations.
For candidates on Oahu, if you are running for a federal or state office, please head to our office, the state Office of Elections.
If you are running for a county office on Oahu, you will need to file at the City and County of Honolulu’s Elections Division.
Candidates residing in Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai counties must file at your County Elections Division.
Your nomination paper must be notarized. Confirm that the election office has notary services available before filing.
When you file, the following will take place:
Election officials will verify the signatures you collected
The filing fee is collected
You will verify your name as it will appear on the ballot
You will record an audio file stating your name and the office you are running for, which will be used for accessible ballots, and
You will take an oath or affirmation before our notary public certifying that you meet the requirements for office.
Once you have successfully filed your nomination paper, you will have officially filed for office and your name will appear on the Hawaii elections ballot. Congratulations!
Topic 3: After candidate filing
What happens next?
After the close of candidate filing, we move on to getting the ballots prepared for printing. There are over 200 unique ballot types, or versions of ballots, that election officials must carefully review to ensure they are accurate before printing.
The Office of Elections reviews the ballots for the following:
Ballot layout and spacing
Correct contests and candidates appearing on each ballot type
Correct order of political parties as established by a random drawing, and
Accurate spelling of instructions, contests, candidate names, and ballot questions
During the ballot proofing process, candidates are invited to visit the Office of Elections or their County Elections Division to proof the ballot types for their district, or request to review a digital file. Our Ballot Operations team will notify all candidates and parties when proofs are available to review.
Next we’ll be joined by our colleague, Kristen Uyeda, who will share some tips for candidate filing.
Thank you for joining us, Kristen. As the head of BOPS, Kristen oversees candidate filing.
We asked Kristen to join us today to share some tips for those interested in running for office and run through a few FAQs.
Kristen, get us started with tip #1.
Tip #1: Pre-fill the Application for a Nomination Paper
If you plan to obtain your nomination paper in person, fill out your application before heading to your election office. This will allow you ample time to complete the application carefully and will help streamline the process when you arrive. Visit the Candidates page on our website elections.hawaii.gov, to complete and print your application.
Tip #2: Be knowledgeable on how to register to vote and update a voter record
It is important to remember that the individuals signing your nomination paper must be properly registered to vote and that their registration is current.
That’s why it’s important that you are equipped to inform voters of their registration options. Residents can use the online voter registration system at elections.hawaii.gov to register, update, or check their record. Or they can submit a paper Voter Registration Application to register or update their information. You may request Voter Registration Applications from our office.
Tip #3: Be mindful when collecting signatures
The information your signees provide on your nomination paper must match the information in the voter registration system. Make sure your signees put their legal name as they are registered to vote and not a nickname. It’s also important that anyone with a recent name change also updates their voter registration information.
For the residence address, we noticed some people put their post office box or mailing address instead of their residence address. Unfortunately, mailing addresses are not accepted. Also, if collecting signatures from a family of the same household, make sure they each write out their address and don’t put ditto marks. We take each signature line as their own and everyone needs to complete the line in its entirety.
For month and day of birth, we noticed some people will put today’s date instead of their birth date, so watch out for those.
If someone makes a mistake, have them sign on a new line with the corrected information. Also, don’t forget to collect more signatures than required just in case these situations happen. We would suggest about 5 more signatures. But it depends how confident you are that your signatures are properly registered voters in the district you are running for. If you are not sure, collect more signatures. If you don’t have enough signatures when you file your nomination paper, you can go back out and collect more. But to avoid the need for multiple trips to your elections office, make the filing process seamless by padding your nomination paper with extra signatures.
Tip #4: Don’t wait!
Don’t wait until the last minute to file. The deadline is June 7 at 4:30 PM. We have seen candidates come on the last day, they don’t have enough valid signatures, and they don’t have time to go back to their district to collect more signatures. Or they don’t have the correct filing fee and not enough time to get it. Avoid the stress and file early!
Thank you for those great tips. Now we’ll get into a few commonly asked questions. We also want to remind our viewers that the Candidate Manual is available online at elections.hawaii.gov, and there we’ve addressed a number of candidate filing questions. We’ll highlight a few of those questions with Kristen in this next segment.
What do I need to bring to apply for a nomination paper?
All you need is your completed Application for a Nomination Paper. It’s available on the Candidates page on our website elections.hawaii.gov or at your Elections Office. We will verify the information on the application against the voter registration system. Then, we will produce your nomination paper for you to use to collect signatures, and that’s it.
If you use the online Candidate System to receive your nomination paper, complete the online application and the system will produce a nomination paper for you to print and use to collect signatures. Remember it’s your responsibility to make sure you meet the requirements to run for the office you are seeking. We wouldn’t want you to collect signatures for an office you don’t qualify for. Therefore, if you have any questions, please call us before collecting signatures.
Yes, if you have any questions, our phone number is 453-VOTE.
What do I need to bring when I file my nomination paper?
You will need your nomination paper with signatures, your filing fee, if you are participating in the discounted filing fee then bring a copy of your notarized Affidavit to Voluntarily Agree with Campaign Expenditure Limits, and your ID for the notary.
Ok so nomination paper, filing fee, Campaign Spending affidavit, and ID.
Do I have to file my nomination paper in person?
No, our laws do not prohibit you from having another person file your nomination paper or from filing through the mail. However, we strongly recommend that you file your nomination paper in person to ensure that you fulfill all the requirements and sign all the certifications. If any nomination paper is incomplete, the problem can be easily remedied when you file in person.
That’s good to hear that there’s in person support, especially for first time candidates, during the filing process.
Can I add additional signatures to my nomination paper after I file?
No, once the nomination paper is filed you will not be allowed to alter it in any way. This includes adding additional signatures to your nomination paper. Therefore, when collecting signatures please make sure that the people signing your nomination paper are qualified voters and reside in the correct district. They can check by using the online voter registration system at elections.hawaii.gov or call us at 453-VOTE.
Ok so no additional signatures can be added once a nomination paper is filed.
What if I change my mind and want to run for a different office or party?
If you want to run for a different office or party, you may obtain a new nomination paper and collect new signatures. But, if you already filed, you must withdraw your nomination paper for that office before filing for the new one. The filing fee is non-refundable and you must meet the requirements for the new office.
So let’s recap today’s episode about candidate filing and run through some takeaways for those looking to run for office.
Candidate filing runs from March 1 through June 7
You can apply for your nomination paper in one of two ways: Option one is to apply in person at a County Elections Division or the Office of Elections. Option two is to utilize the Candidate System at elections.hawaii.gov and print your nomination paper from home.
Finally, we want to remind you to review the Candidate Manual that is available at elections.hawaii.gov. There you’ll find information from today and a ton of other valuable resources to guide you through the process.
Thank you for joining us today. Be sure to follow us on social media at election808 and visit our website for all things Hawaii elections. We’ll see you in the next one. Thanks!