Voting in Hawaii

Hawaii Elections

Hawaii conducts statewide elections in even-numbered years. The primary election is held on the second Saturday in August and the general election is held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

View the election calendar for dates and deadlines.

Pursuant to Act 136, SLH 2019, elections are conducted by mail. All registered voters automatically receive their ballot in the mail approximately eighteen (18) days prior to the election. Ballots are sent to the mailing address provided with the voter's voter registration. To register or update your voter registration, visit Voter Registration.

Primary Election
The primary election nominates candidates to represent political parties in the general election. Similarly, candidates who do not belong to a political party will be nominated to the general election by meeting the qualifications as a nonpartisan candidate running in a partisan contest.

Hawaii voters do not declare a political affiliation with the voter registration pursuant to the Hawaii State Constitution, ensuring every voter's right to secrecy. On the primary election ballot, voters must first select a political affiliation and then vote for candidates of the political affiliation of their choice only.

Voters may also vote for candidates for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and county contests regardless of party affiliation.

General Election
The general election is a candidate contest, meaning that voters may vote for the candidate of their choice regardless of political affiliation. Voters will select federal, state, county, and Office of Hawaiian Affairs candidates, as well as State Constitutional Amendments and/or Charter Amendments.

Presidential Elections
Hawaii does not conduct a presidential preference primary. The political parties independently conduct presidential caucuses to nominate candidates for president and vice-president. For information on how to participate in the party-run presidential caucuses, contact the qualified political parties directly. The Electoral College elects the president and vice-president of the United States. Learn more about the Electoral College.

Ranked-Choice Voting
Any federal election not held on the date of a regularly scheduled primary or general election and any special election for a vacant seat on a county council shall be conducted by ranked-choice voting. HRS § 11-100.

What is ranked-choice voting?

Ranked-choice voting" is the method of casting and tabulating votes in which voters rank candidates in order of preference, tabulation proceeds in sequential rounds in which last-place candidates are defeated, and the candidate with the most votes in the final round is elected."  HRS §§ 11-110(e).

Specific statutory procedures are followed in each round. HRS §§ 11-110(b)-(d).

How does ranked-choice voting work?

If a candidate receives a majority of votes, 50 percent plus one, in the first round, that candidate wins. However, if no candidate receives a majority of votes, the votes of the defeated candidate(s) are redistributed.

In each round, the candidate with the lowest number of votes is defeated. Those votes are then redistributed as votes for the continuing candidates, counting for the voter’s next ranked candidate in the following round.

This process of redistributing votes continues until a candidate reaches a majority of the votes.

Registering to Vote

To register to vote in the State of Hawaii, you must be:

  • A U.S. Citizen
  • A resident of Hawaii
  • At least sixteen (16) years old.
    • Hawaii law allows qualified individuals to pre-register at sixteen (16) years of age. Upon reaching eighteen (18) years of age, they will be automatically registered and mailed a ballot.

Learn more about Voter Registration.

Voting by Mail

Keep Your Voter Registration Current
Ballots are mailed to the mailing address associated with your voter registration. If you move to a new residence, change your mailing address or name, you must update your voter registration. You may check online or contact your County Elections Division to confirm that your registration record is current.

Receiving Your Ballot
You will receive a mail ballot packet at least 18 days prior to the election.

Your packet consists of a ballot, ballot secrecy sleeve, and a prepaid postage return ballot envelope.

Voters with special needs may request for an electronic ballot through the Voter Registration Application or by contacting their County Elections Division. Click here to learn more about voting with an accessible electronic ballot.

Returning Your Ballot
You may return your voted ballot by mail or in person at a designated place of deposit within your county. Voted ballots must be received by your County Elections Division by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day.

Tracking Your Ballot
You may check on the status of your ballot, whether it has been mailed and/or received, by contacting your County Elections Division. Additionally, you may sign up with BallotTrax to receive ballot notifications.

Processing Your Ballot
Upon receipt of your return envelope, your County Elections Division validates the signature to confirm your identity. After your signature is validated, your ballot will be forwarded to state election officials to be counted.

Voting at a Voter Service Center
The County Elections Divisions establish voter service centers that will be open 10 days prior and on Election Day. Services include accessible in person voting and same day registration.

If you require special assistance (i.e. large print, taped materials, etc.) contact the Office of Elections at 453-VOTE (8683).

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I vote?
You must be a registered voter to receive a ballot. Then, you will receive your ballot in the mail. To vote, review the instructions, contests, and candidates on your ballot and make your selections. You can also leave a contest blank and it will not impact your votes.

After voting, fold the ballot and slip it into the ballot secrecy sleeve. Insert the ballot secrecy sleeve into your return envelope and be sure to sign. Your ballot cannot be counted without your signature on the return envelope.

Return your ballot by mail or by dropping it off at a place of deposit. Your voted ballot must be received by your County Elections Divisions by 7:00 pm on Election Day to be counted.

When can I expect to receive my ballot?
You should expect to receive your mail ballot packet at least 18 days prior to the election.

What if I didn’t receive my ballot?
If you did not receive your ballot, please contact your County Elections Division and they will issue you a replacement ballot.

What if I make a mistake on my ballot?
If you make a mistake, misplace, or damage your ballot, you may request for a replacement ballot with your County Elections Division.

Will my vote still count if I did not vote on all measures and/or candidates?
Yes, your ballot will still be counted.

Can I change my mind after I’ve returned the ballot?
No. Once you return your ballot and is received by the County Elections Division, it is considered cast and you will not be able to receive a new ballot.

Why do I have to sign the return ballot envelope?
Your signature on the return envelope enables election officials to verify you as the voter. The signature you provide on the return ballot envelope is verified against the signature on file in your voter registration record. If you do not sign your return ballot envelope, your ballot will not be counted.

How can I receive my ballot if I’m on vacation or away at college?
If you will be away during the election you may request for a ballot to be mailed to an alternate address. Simply complete an absentee application and indicate where you would like your ballot to be mailed to.

Can I still vote in-person?
Yes, you may vote in-person by visiting any voter service center in your county. Voter service centers are open 10 days through Election Day for in-person voting, same day registration and accessible voting.

Last Updated on April 8, 2024