What you need to know about voting by mail in Hawaiʻi’s general election

By Jackalyn Carione

The general election is coming up and this year, voting is a little different. To keep our families and kūpuna safe from COVID-19, Hawaiʻi will be voting by mail.

Here are five thing the Office of Elections wants the people of Hawaiʻi know about casting ballots by mail for the November 3 General Election.

  • There will be no traditional polling places established. Do not go to your polling place on Election Day. As a registered voter, you will automatically receive your ballot in the mail.
  • Verify your voter registration record. To ensure you will receive your ballot in the mail, check your voter registration status online by logging in with your Hawaii Driver License or Hawaii State ID, or by calling your County Elections Division. By law, ballots cannot be forwarded through the mail, so if you have moved or changed your mailing address or name, you must update your voter registration. This can also be done online or by submitting a paper Voter Registration Application.
  • Voting your ballot. You can expect to receive your ballot by October 16 for the General Election. Your ballot packet will include a personalized postage-paid return envelope, ballot secrecy sleeve, and ballot. Read the instructions, mark your ballot with a blue or black pen, seal it in your return envelope, and sign the envelope. The return envelope must be signed for the ballot to be counted.
  • Returning your ballot. Voted ballots can be returned by mail or dropped off at a voter service center or place of deposit. If you are returning your ballot by mail, you should do so by October 27. After October 27, you should drop off your ballot to a place of deposit in your county. All voted ballots must be received by 7:00 pm on Election Day November 3. Visit the Voter Service Centers and Places of Deposit page for location details.
  • Track your ballot. You may check the status of your ballot, including whether it has been created, received, and validated by visiting here or by calling your County Elections Division. Visit the County Elections Divisions page for the phone numbers to the respective County offices.

To learn more about voting by mail, or to check your voter registration, visit the Office of Elections or contact the Office of Elections at (808) 453 VOTE (8683).


Important Dates:

October 5 – Voter registration deadline

October 5-9 – Mail ballot packets delivered (no later than Oct. 16)

October 20 – Voter service centers open

October 27 – The Office of Elections recommends mailing your completed ballot no later than Oct. 27. After that, drop off your ballot at a voter service center or place of deposit.

November 3 – General Election (all ballots must be received by 7 pm)


Is voting by mail reliable?

Amber McReynolds, the CEO of the National Vote at Home Institute, and Charles Stewart, director of the MIT Election Data and Science Lab, reviewed data on vote-by-mail fraud recently and found that over the past 20 years in the United States, there have been more than 250 million ballots cast by mail but only 143 criminal convictions for election fraud related to voting by mail. That is only a 0.00006% fraud rate.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, all states already allowed some form of absentee voting and a majority of those states allowed no-excuse absentee voting. Continuing absentee voting for the 2020 general election is reliable, and the safest option to ensure the people in our community stay healthy.


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