Hawaii Votes EP. 8 – July 2022 – Receiving and Returning Your Ballot
With Primary Election ballots arriving to mailboxes soon, our hosts cover how to mark your ballot and prepare it for return. Also learn about ballot tracking and signing up to receive text, email, or voice alerts for voting reminders.
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With Hawaii Votes, you can cast your vote from the comfort of your living room chair.
Registered voters will automatically receive a ballot packet at least eighteen days before each election.
If you don’t, contact your County Elections division right away.
To check your ballot status, sign up for notifications at elections.hawaii.gov.
Still got questions? Contact the State Office of Elections by calling 808-453-VOTE.
Then 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 a guide to receiving and returning your ballot. We’re only weeks away from the election, which means you can expect your ballot in the mail very soon!
In this episode, we’ll walk you through voting by mail, so you can be prepared once your ballot arrives.
Jaime, give us a preview of today’s topics.
This voting by mail episode will cover:
Who receives a mail ballot
When to expect your ballot
How to mark your ballot
How to prepare your ballot for return, and
Your ballot return options
First, who receives a mail ballot?
If you are registered to vote, you will automatically receive a mail ballot every election as Hawaii is a vote-by-mail state. You do not need to re-register or request for a mail ballot every election year.
But, if you have moved or changed your mailing address without updating your voter registration, you will not be sent a ballot until this issue is resolved. Remember to keep your voter registration up to date so that your ballot can be properly delivered.
Who sends the ballots?
Mail ballots are sent by the Elections Divisions of each county. If you live on the island of Maui, the Maui County Elections Division sends your ballot. If you live on the island of Kauai, the Kauai County Elections Division sends your ballot, and so forth. This is especially important to remember, so that if you find that you have not received your ballot or need a replacement, you know who to notify. Find their contact information at elections.hawaii.gov.
Which address will you receive your ballot to?
Your ballot is sent to the mailing address you provided with your voter registration. If it’s been some time since you registered and don’t remember, you can verify that address at elections.hawaii.gov or by calling us at (808) 453-VOTE.
When will your ballot arrive?
For the Primary Election, expect your ballot by July 26, and for the General Election, expect your ballot by October 21. If you do not receive your ballot by these dates, we recommend that you contact your County Elections Division.
You’ll just need a blue or black pen, as your mail ballot packet arrives with everything you’ll need to cast your ballot. The packet is easily identifiable as election mail and as mentioned, will be sent from your County Elections Division. Our tip is to mark your calendar for those ballot arrival dates, so you can be on the lookout for its arrival.
The packet includes a return envelope, a secrecy sleeve, and your ballot. Return envelopes are pre-addressed to your County Elections Division, and are postage paid. You do not need to attach additional postage.
Now, let’s move on to voting your ballot.
First, read through the instructions and review the front and backside of your ballot. Taking the extra second to do so can mean the difference between marking your ballot correctly the first time and having to request a replacement ballot. Our tip: slow down and take your time before you begin.
Now it’s time to mark your choices. When marking your ballot, ensure that you completely fill in the box to the left of your choice with a black or blue pen.
If you make a mistake, do not cross it out or use white out. As your ballot is counted, these types of corrections will be read as an overvote, and will not be counted for the candidate you intended to vote for. Instead, contact your County Elections Division for a replacement ballot. Additionally, you’ll need to request a replacement ballot if you have torn or damaged your ballot.
In the Primary Election, you must first select a party preference, and vote only for candidates within that party. This is known as a Single Party Primary Election.
In the General Election, you are free to vote for candidates of different party affiliations. For example, you may vote for a candidate in the U.S. Representative contest of one party, and a candidate for State Representative of another political party. Be sure to read the instructions and not vote for more candidates than instructed.
When you are done voting your ballot, place it in the secrecy sleeve. The sleeve allows officials to process your ballot and keep your choices anonymous. Your ballot should remain folded along its original folds.
If you forget to place it in the sleeve, don’t worry. You ballot will still be processed.
Next, place the secrecy sleeve into the return envelope, which is preaddressed to your County Elections Division. Finally, sign the return envelope. The signature on your envelope is compared to your signature on file, which allows officials to confirm your identity. If you do not sign, your ballot will not be counted.
After signing and sealing, your ballot is ready for return.
Simply drop your signed and sealed ballot into the mail. You do not need to add postage.
We recommend that you return your voted ballot as soon as possible. Your voted ballot must be received by the County Elections Divisions by 7:00 PM on Election Day or it cannot be counted. Postmarks will not be accepted.
What are other options to return your ballot?
Another option is to return your voted ballot to a ballot drop box within your county. Ballot drop boxes are available for deposit throughout the election period. We urge you to return your voted ballot to a drop box if you are uncertain that your ballot will be received by election officials by the 7:00pm deadline on Election Day.
A list of ballot drop box locations is posted on our website at elections.hawaii.gov.
Tracking the status of your ballot is easy through our online ballot status portal, BallotTrax.
You may view the status of your ballot, including that it has been sent, received, and validated by the County Elections Divisions at hawaii.ballottrax.net. BallotTrax also allows you to receive text, email, or voice alerts notifying you of where your ballot is in the process. Sign up to receive these alerts at hawaii.ballottrax.net.
Alternatively, you may call your County Elections Division to request a status update of your ballot over the phone. Again, you may find the contact information for the County Elections Divisions at elections.hawaii.gov.
Expect to receive your mail ballot packet by July 26 for the Primary Election, and October 21 for the General Election.
Prevent mistakes by first reading the instructions! We understand errors do happen, so if you find that you need a replacement ballot, contact your County Elections Division.
Seal and sign your ballot return envelope. You must sign your return envelope for your ballot to be counted.
Return your ballot promptly. It is your responsibility to ensure that your ballot is received by your County Elections Division by 7:00 PM on Election Day. Use a ballot drop box, if you still have your voted ballot close to the deadline.
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!