Rumors Vs. Facts

Voter Registration

Rumor: My personal information is widely available to bad actors because I am registered to vote.

Fact: Election officials do not release sensitive personal identifying information such as your Social Security Number, Hawaii Driver License, or Hawaii State ID information through public information lists.

It is true that under Hawaii law, certain voter registration data is available for public record.  This includes information such as your name and address.  However, this data can only be obtained through an official request to the County Elections Division and can only be used for election related purposes.

As such, receiving campaign materials or being contacted by a political candidate is not an indication that voter registration data has been hacked, illegally obtained, or is in the hands of bad actors.

Rumor: Voters must re-register before every election.

Fact: Voters do not need to re-register before every election.  You will automatically receive a mail ballot if your registration remains current.  If your registration is unchanged from the last election you participated in, no further action is required.

Should your residence or mailing address change, you are responsible for updating your voter registration to ensure that you continue to receive a mail ballot.

Rumor: Voters must be registered members of a political party to vote in the primary election.

Fact: You are not required to be a party member to vote in the primary election.  Your primary election ballot will contain candidates from all political parties.

It is important to distinguish that presidential caucuses are however independently carried out by the political parties and may require party membership.  If you are interested in becoming a member of a political party, you must contact the political party directly.

Rumor: Hawaii voter registration rolls are largely inaccurate.

Fact: Election officials work continuously to uphold the accuracy of Hawaii’s voter registration rolls.  Voter list maintenance is a process managed by the County Elections Divisions, which are required to follow the federal National Voter Registration Act of 1993 to determine the removal of a voter from the voter registration rolls.

These list maintenance procedures include:

  • Confirmation mail notices: Election officials identify inactive voters using confirmation mailings.  Election mailings include Notices of Voter Registration and mail ballots.  Any election mailing that is undeliverable or if the voter no longer resides or receives mail at the address should be returned to the respective County Elections Division.

    The County Election Division then sends a follow up mailing that can be forwarded to the voter asking them to update or cancel their registration.  If a voter updates their registration, they are considered active and automatically mailed a ballot.  If a voter does not update their registration, they are flagged as inactive.  Voters who do not update their registration within two General Elections are then removed from Hawaii’s voter rolls.
  • Cancelations through government records: Election officials use government records to identify and remove voters who are no longer qualified to vote.  This includes the removal of deceased voters and the removal of those with felony convictions using records from state departments.

Voters may also self-cancel their registration through their County Elections Division or when registering to vote in a new State.  Everyone plays a role in the accuracy and integrity of our elections.  Therefore, if you receive a confirmation mail notice for someone who no longer resides at the address, you are responsible for notifying the County Elections Division that the voter’s registration is out of date.  One example is parents receiving election mail for a child who has moved out.

Voter Fraud

Rumor: A voter receiving multiple ballots in the mail is proof of election fraud.

Fact: Voters receiving multiple mail ballot packets in the mail is a result of a request by the voter including a change in their voter registration, a report that they didn’t receive their ballot, or an ask for a replacement ballot.

Rumor: There are high incidents of residents casting multiple ballots.

Fact: Reports of high incidents of voters fraudulently casting multiple ballots are without merit.  Suspected incidents of voter fraud are referred to law enforcement for thorough investigation, and there have been no findings of widespread voter fraud since implementing statewide elections by mail in 2020.

Election officials utilize a multi-pronged system of safeguards to combat fraudulent voting, including:

  • To prevent voters from voting more than once: Every ballot return envelope is assigned a unique barcode.  When a voted ballot is received, officials scan the barcode and credit the voter for voting in the election. This record prevents attempts to submit multiple mail ballots or to vote in person.

Rumor: There are high incidents of residents voting on ballots that are not their own.

Fact: Reports of high incidents of voters fraudulently casting ballots that are not their own are without merit.  Suspected incidents of voter fraud are referred to law enforcement for thorough investigation, and there have been no findings of widespread voter fraud since implementing statewide elections by mail in 2020.

Election officials utilize a multi-pronged system of safeguards to combat fraudulent voting, including:

  • To prevent voters from voting a ballot that is not their own: Ballots must pass signature verification to be counted.  Officials compare the signature on the voted ballot return envelope, to a signature associated with the voter’s registration.  This signature verification process acts to confirm the identity of the voter and prevent bad actors from casting a ballot that is not their own.

Rumor: Voters should avoid depositing their ballots to a ballot drop box because these locations are not secure.

Fact: Ballot drop boxes are purpose-built for elections and are equipped with security features to protect voted ballots.

As an added layer of assurance, we encourage you to sign up for ballot tracking alerts at  Ballot tracking enables you to receive confirmation that your ballot has been received by your County Elections Division and has been accepted for counting.

Mailing Ballots to Voters

Rumor: Mail ballots are forwardable.

Fact: Mail ballots are not forwardable, meaning the USPS is not permitted to deliver ballots to any address other than the one indicated on the mail ballot.  This allows election officials greater oversight on ensuring the proper delivery of mail ballots.

Therefore, if you move or change your mailing address, you must update your voter registration to receive your ballot to your new address.  Ballots that are not deliverable are returned to the County Elections Division and triggers list maintenance procedures.

Processing Voted Ballots

Rumor: Ballots received after Election Day are counted if they are postmarked by Election Day.

Fact: Postmarks are not used to determine whether a voted ballot has met the deadline to be counted.  Election officials are only permitted to count ballots that are received by the deadline, 7:00 PM on Election Day.

Election Day Voting

Rumor: Voters should report to their assigned polling place to vote on Election Day.

Fact: By default, all registered voters are automatically sent a mail ballot for every election.  Traditional polling places, which were assigned in the past, are no longer established since statewide elections by mail became effective in Hawaii.  No traditional polling places are open for Election Day voting.

In contrast to traditional polling places, the County Elections Divisions establish in-person services at voter service center locations.  Rather than one day, these locations are open for 10 days prior to and on Election Day.

Voter service centers are intended to meet the needs of voters who are unable to vote on their mail ballot, such as a voter with a disability needing the use of accessibility aids which the voter service center provides.  Additionally, voter service centers serve as a last-minute resource for voters who have not registered or received their mail ballot or have damaged or lost their mail ballot.


Rumor: The results released on election night are final.

Fact: Election results are not final until results have been certified.  Reports will continue to be updated until all valid ballots received by the deadline are counted.  Changes to the results after the release of the first result report do not indicate fraud.

You can expect the following release of results:

  • Report 1 is released after the voter service centers are closed on Election Day.
  • Report 2 is scheduled for release at 10:30 PM on Election Day.
  • Election Day Final Report is released once all return envelopes have been signature checked by the County Elections Division and processed at the counting center.
  • Election Final Report is released after the 5-business day voter signature curing period.

Rumor: With voting by mail, election officials know the results before Election Day.

Fact: Election officials do not know the outcome of the election before Election Day.  Officials are only permitted to begin opening and scanning voted ballots 18 days before Election Day.  However, in accordance with Hawaii State law, the vote counts are not tabulated until Election Day, and results are not released until voting has ended.


Rumor: The Office of Elections gets rid of the physical ballots and therefore it is impossible for there to be any audits or any accountability once the election is over.

Fact: Ballots are not destroyed immediately after the election has concluded.  By federal law, the Office of Elections is required to retain paper ballots for 22 months.

Rumor: The Office of Elections does not conduct a post-election audit in accordance with Hawaii election law and therefore the results are not accurate and cannot be trusted.

Fact: To confirm the accuracy of the results, the Office of Elections conducts a post-election audit on 10% of district/precincts as mandated by Hawaii State law.  The district/precincts are determined by random selection.

To conduct the audit, election officials compile a tally of expected results and compare that tally to the results tabulated from the voting equipment.

Rumor: Auditing ballot images vs auditing the physical ballots means that the post-election audit is not accurate and cannot be trusted.

Fact: The Office of Elections conducts a post-election audit following Hawaii State law.  To conduct the audit, officials create a tally of expected results by reviewing ballot images.

A ballot image is simply the scanned image of your voted mail ballot.  This scanned image is a true duplicate of your voted ballot, scanned using the federally certified voting system.

To further maintain transparency, the Official Observers tasked with monitoring the auditing process are granted the option to review the physical voted ballots upon request.