Hawaii mail-in voting: What to know

Politics

As the United States prepares to hold a presidential election in the midst of a deadly pandemic, many states are relying on voting by mail to reduce in-person contact at the polls, including Hawaii.

Hawaii passed a bill to hold universal mail-in elections, meaning all voters are sent mail ballots whether they request one or not, in mid-2019. The aim at the time was to increase voter turnout in Hawaii, which then was among the lowest in the United States.

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“You don’t have to skip work to do it, you don’t have to take time off, you don’t have to go out of your way. I think the net result will be a small bump in voter turnout,” State Sen. Karl Rhoads said at the time.

There was confusion in Hawaii after a U.S. Postal Service mailer sent postcards telling voters to ask for mail-in ballots at least 15 days before Election Day. But the Honolulu Elections Division reminded voters that they do not need to take any action to get a ballot.

“We confirmed with Hawaii USPS officials that our residents will receive this too,” the body said. “To be clear, Hawaii voters need not request a mail ballot. And ballot return postage is prepaid.”

For the 2020 presidential election in Hawaii, voters must register by Oct. 5 to get their mail-in ballots by Oct. 16. They can then mail the ballots by Oct. 27 to ensure they are counted or drop them off at their county elections division office by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

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Hawaii also has in-person voting options for those that choose it. Voters can visit voter service centers in the 10 days before and including Election Day to do so. There is also same-day registration available at the voter service centers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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