Should You Vote in Person, on Election Day or by Mail?

Photos: Odeelo Dayondon

It’s pretty hard not to find time to vote, whether it’s on election day or the days leading up to it. Here are four things that might get you to the polls on time, or even earlier:

1. Do I get two hours off to vote?

If you must work on election day during the polling hours of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., then your employer is required by law to give you two hours off to cast a ballot. But, how many people really have to be at work from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.? That’s why you need to check the policy at your workplace.

Of course, even if you do get two hours off, it might not end up being very long, especially if your polling place is closer to home than work or if there’s a long line. And it’s almost definitely not long enough if you show up at the wrong polling place and need to get to the right one.

2. Where can I vote?

Sure, it would be convenient to be able to pick the precinct nearest you, but Hawaii’s election system doesn’t work that way. After you register to vote, you’ll be mailed a little yellow card that tells you in what House and Senate districts you’ll be voting and where to cast your ballot.

If you can’t find your card, don’t worry. The Office of Elections has a handy polling place locator website. As long as you know your name and birthdate, you’re set. You can even generate a map to help you find where you need to go.

These days, more and more voters are opting to vote before election day, however, either at a walk-in polling site or by mailing in an absentee ballot.

3. Where can I walk in to vote?

There are several locations around the state where you can walk in and vote, regardless of where your home precinct is.

For the primary election, you can vote between July 28 and Aug. 7 at the City or County Clerk offices where you reside, including at Honolulu Hale. To find additional locations, call the clerks’ offices for your county:

City and County of Honolulu: (808) 768-3800

County of Hawaii: (808) 961-8277

County of Maui: (808) 270-7749

County of Kauai: (808) 241-4800

4. Can I vote by mail?

You can also request an absentee ballot by mail. The applications are available at satellite city halls, city and county clerk offices, U.S. Post Offices, public libraries and state agencies. Applications are due by Aug. 2 at 4:30 p.m.

For those who want to vote absentee in the general election, get your absentee mail application in by Oct. 28 at 4:30 p.m. or you can walk in and vote from Oct. 21 to Nov. 1.

For more about absentee voting, visit the Hawaii Office of Elections website.