Hawaii Votes EP. 7 – June 2022 – Absentee Voting
Learn about how to vote if you are away from Hawaii during the election season. If you’re a college student, plan to travel, or will be temporarily away from your regular mailing address, our hosts provide you the steps to never miss an election.
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With Hawaii Votes, you can cast your vote from the comfort of your living room chair.
That’s because Hawaii is a vote-by-mail state, so your ballot comes to you!
So how do I register to vote?
Just go to elections.hawaii.gov and have your Hawaii Driver’s License or Hawaii State ID ready.
To register, you must be a U.S. citizen, a resident of Hawaii, and at least 18 years old.
The website also lists other ways to register.
What happens if I’ve moved?
If you have a new address or changed your name, go to elections.hawaii.gov to update your voter registration record.
That will ensure that your ballot gets mailed to the right place.
When are elections held?
Elections are regularly scheduled in even-numbered years with a Primary Election in August and a General Election in November.
You’ll automatically receive a ballot packet at least 18 days before each election.
If you don’t, contact your County Elections Division right away.
Okay, I received my packet.
How do I vote?
First, review both sides of the ballot.
To vote, darken the box of your choice with a black or blue pen.
If you make an error, contact your County Elections Division for a replacement ballot.
Once you’re done voting, place your ballot in the secrecy sleeve.
Then, place the secrecy sleeve in the return envelope.
Remember, you must sign the return envelope for your ballot to be counted.
After signing the return envelope, just place it in the mail.
You can also look for a ballot drop box in your neighborhood by going to elections.hawaii.gov.
Remember to allow enough time for your ballot to arrive by the voting deadline.
To be counted, voted ballots must be received by your County Elections Division by 7:00 pm on Election Day.
How do I know if my ballot arrived safely?
Our BallotTrax online portal can answer that!
To confirm that your ballot has been received and validated, just go to hawaii.ballottrax.net.
You can also sign up to get text, email, or voice alerts notifying you where your ballot is in the process.
What happens if I will be away from home during the election?
Just request that an absentee ballot be sent to an alternate mailing address.
Absentee voting is ideal for Hawaii residents who are vacationing, away for college, or temporarily working out-of-state.
To request an absentee ballot, you must already be registered to vote.
To register or confirm your existing voter registration record, go to elections.hawaii.gov.
Once confirmed, you can obtain a printable absentee ballot request form online, or pick one up from any USPS post office or public library.
Be sure to submit the application to your County Elections Division at least 7 days before the election.
Is voting in person still an option?
While most people prefer voting by mail or depositing it in a ballot drop box, Voter
Service Centers are open for last minute voter registration and in-person voting starting 10 days before the election and through Election Day.
For locations and hours, go to elections.hawaii.gov.
What about accessible voting options?
If you are disabled and unable to read standard print, you can request to have an accessible electronic ballot sent to you by email.
Electronic ballots allow you to vote through your personal assistive technology from the comfort of home.
Voter Service Centers are also a great option for voters with disabilities.
These locations are equipped with accessible voting equipment, enabling you to use assistive technologies, such as tactile navigation and audio, to independently mark your ballot.
I’m curious how my ballot is processed.
It’s pretty cool!
Once your ballot is received, the barcode on the envelope is scanned.
The unique barcode allows officials to track the return of your ballot and prevents anyone from voting more than once.
The signature on the envelope is compared to the signature on your voter record.
If officials are unable to confirm a match, you’ll be notified to fix the issue within five business days post-election.
If your signature is successfully matched, your ballot packet is securely transported to the counting center.
There, the envelope is opened, your voted ballot is removed from the secrecy sleeve and is processed through vote counting scanners.
After the close of voting on election night, votes are tabulated, and results are released via elections.hawaii.gov.
I want to mark my calendar.
What are the important dates?
Here are the key election dates and deadlines.
If I have more questions, who can I contact?
We’re always here to help! elections.hawaii.gov is your main starting point for most voting information including voting by mail, ballot drop box locations and Voter Service Center locations.
You may also contact the Hawaii State Office of Elections or your County Elections Division at these numbers.
Hawaii Votes is brought to you by the State of Hawaii Office of Elections.
So sit back, relax, and let your ballot come to you.
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, Ray and Jaime, and today’s episode is all about absentee voting.
In this episode, we’ll answer common questions, and provide guidance if you need to vote absentee in the upcoming election.
Jaime, give us a roadmap of today’s episode.
Today, we’ll cover:
What is absentee voting?
Who can vote absentee?
How to request, vote on, and return your absentee ballot
Absentee voting options for military and overseas voters, and
We’ll answer frequently asked questions about absentee voting
So, what is absentee voting?
Absentee voting refers to any voter who has requested to receive their mail ballot at an address other than their regular Hawaii mailing address. If you will be away from home and won’t be able to receive your ballot, absentee voting allows you to maintain your ability to vote and never miss an election.
Who is eligible to vote absentee? Every registered Hawaii voter is eligible to vote absentee. Unlike some states that only allow absentee voting for voters in certain circumstances, Hawaii is a “no excuse” absentee voting state.
Let’s run through several common situations for which absentee voting would be a great solution. Absentee voting is ideal for:
Hawaii residents attending college away
Hawaii residents temporarily working away, including those in the military and overseas, and
Voters in a nursing home or care facility
Maybe you’ll be traveling when primary ballots are expected to arrive at homes, or there’s a college student in the family who is attending school on the mainland. What do you need to do to vote absentee?
Step 1. Confirm that you are registered to vote in Hawaii. An absentee ballot request will not be processed if you are not yet registered to vote in Hawaii. To do so, head over to elections.hawaii.gov and use the Online Voter Registration System. Don’t have a Hawaii driver’s license or Hawaii State? Call us at 808-453-VOTE, and we’ll confirm your registration over the phone.
Step 2. Complete an Absentee Ballot Application. The application is printable from our website, elections.hawaii.gov, found on the ‘Absentee Voting’ page. You can also visit any Hawaii State Library or US Post Office for a copy.
Step 3. Submit your Absentee Ballot Application to your County Elections Division. Find your local elections division’s address listed on the back side of the application. Your request must be submitted by August 6 for a Primary Election ballot, and November 1 for a General Election ballot. But don’t wait! If you know you will be away, make the request today.
Requesting an absentee ballot is that simple. You can expect to receive your ballot to the address you provided on your request.
In Hawaii, an absentee ballot and a mail ballot is one in the same, so vote as you normally would. Follow the ballot marking instructions, and when you’re done voting, place your folded ballot in the secrecy sleeve, then place the secrecy sleeve in the return envelope. Sign the return envelope and put it back in the mail. No additional postage is required for those within the U.S.
Next, we’ll explore absentee voting options for a unique set of voters, Hawaii’s military and overseas citizens.
If you are in the military, a spouse or dependent of military members, or living overseas, you fall into a group of voters protected by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, known as UOCAVA, and the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, known as the MOVE Act.
Voters covered by these federal laws may receive and return their ballot electronically by email or fax. These voters are also sent their ballot at an earlier date to account for different mailing timelines. As a UOCAVA voter, you will be sent your ballot no later than 45 days before Election Day to allow you ample time to vote and return your ballot.
To request your overseas ballot, you must submit a Federal Post Card Application, also known as the FPCA, to your County Elections Division. Visit fvap.gov/hawaii to find the application and instructions on submittal. Bookmark fvap.gov, as it is a great resource for military and overseas voters every election year.
Let’s get into some frequently asked questions about absentee voting.
Question 1: Can I cancel an absentee ballot request?
Yes, if for any reason your circumstances change, you may cancel your request for an absentee ballot. Contact your County Elections Division directly to inform them of the cancelation.
Question 2: Can someone request an absentee ballot on my behalf?
No, a third-party cannot request an absentee ballot on your behalf. Absentee Ballot Applications require the signature of the voter. If you are away from Hawaii and can’t pick up an application in person, they are printable from our website, or you can contact our office directly and we can mail an application to you.
Question 3: Are absentee ballots processed differently?
Absentee ballots are no different than the mail ballot you would receive to your regular Hawaii mailing address. They undergo the same processing procedures in order to be counted.
Question 4: Do I need to submit an Absentee Ballot Application every year?
Yes, a request for an absentee ballot applies only to one election cycle. You will need to submit a request for every election that you are away from your Hawaii mailing address.
To recap, let’s go over some important dates and deadlines.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot for the Primary Election is August 6
The deadline to request an absentee ballot for the General Election is November 1
As a reminder, your voted ballot needs to be received by your County Elections Division by 7:00 pm on Election Day for it to be counted.
Thank you for joining us today! Follow us on social media at elections808, and visit our website elections.hawaii.gov for all things Hawaii elections. We’ll see you in the next one. Thanks!