Hawaii Absentee Voting is Under Way—Both Walk-In and By Mail

Learn where and how to cast your primary election vote in Hawaii.


Photo: Diane Lee

Early voting began this week at Honolulu Hale and Kapolei Hale, with registered voters walking in to do their civic duty weeks before election day. Polls will be open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., July 28 through Aug. 7. 

If you applied for absentee voting, you should have received a ballot in your mailbox recently. Elections officials began sending the ballots out July 18 and will continue to do so as applications come in through the 4:30 p.m., Aug. 2 deadline.

Registered voters can apply for absentee ballots by going to the hawaii.gov Absentee Voting page or by picking up an application at satellite city halls, post offices, public libraries or other locations. So far, 113,000 people have applied for absentee ballots in the City and County of Honolulu.

According to Rex Quidilla, spokesman for the state Office of Elections, about half of all votes were cast before election day in the 2012 primary.

Ballots must be completed and returned (not postmarked) by the close of polls (6 p.m.) on election day. Or, to vote early, bring your ballot to absentee walk-in locations through Aug. 7. Ballots will also be accepted at any polling place on Aug. 9.

As we reported earlier, this is the first primary election to include Office of Hawaiian Affairs races, which are nonpartisan. Voters will be asked to choose no more than one trustee for Oahu and no more than three for trustee at-large. The only other nonpartisan races are the county councils.

For everything else, voters must select one party and only vote for that party’s candidates—which kind of sucks when your party has one or fewer candidates in each race (Where’s the excitement? Where’s the drama? Where’s the Green Party?). For example, if you want to vote Mufi Hannemann for governor, you have no say in the U.S. Senate, U.S. Representative or State Representative races and only one choice in the State Senate—if you live in District 17.

This video from the Office of Elections shows a sample ballot, and how to vote:


Even if your voting options are limited, you can still get involved in the democratic process by volunteering at a polling place on election day. Registered or pre-registered voters age 16 or older who can read and write in English are eligible, with certain restrictions on candidates and their relatives (click here to read the full requirements). Volunteers are especially needed in the Honolulu/East Honolulu areas.

As a bonus, volunteers receive $85 for the day. Call 453-VOTE to sign up.


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Honolulu Magazine May 2019
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