Your Vote Counts, Hawaii

So, are you registered?

Photo: Thinkstock

Hawaii has the dubious distinction of having the lowest voter turnout in the country — even though we’ve had the chance to vote for country’s first Hawaii-born president.

This election season, HONOLULU Magazine wants to change that by offering you news, tips and interesting tidbits to get you excited about the election and informed at the polls. Who knows? You might even read something here that will make you want to throw your own hat in the ring: The candidate filing deadline isn’t until June 3.

But before you get too immersed in the candidates and the issues, make sure you’re registered to vote. This election cycle, we’re voting for seats in the U.S. Senate and Congress are up for grabs, there are challenges to our incumbent Gov. Neil Abercrombie, and there are dozens of state and county elections, too. If you’re 18 or older on election day, a U.S. citizen and a Hawaii resident, you have a right to be heard.

Remember, in local races especially, your vote can make a difference. In the 2012 general election, State Rep. Lauren Cheape of Mililani beat her opponent Jake Bradshaw by a mere 86 votes in a contest where just over 5,100 voters turned out at the polls.

How can you make a difference? Start by registering to vote. It’s easy, it’s painless and, no, you don’t have to join a political party to vote in the Aug. 9 primary election. All you have to do is get your registration in by July 10. Believe me, you really don’t want to be that guy who waits in line for an hour on election day only to get turned away because you can’t register on the spot.

Voter registration forms are available at city and county clerk offices, state libraries, satellite city halls, U.S. post offices and even in the phone book. You can even do double-duty by registering to vote while you’re applying for a state ID or driver’s license.

If you prefer to do things online, you can even download the wikiwiki registration form off the Office of Elections website, whether you want to vote in person or absentee. If you choose that option, you’re going to have to use snail mail it send it in, though.

Need to know more? Visit the Office of Elections website at