The Legislature has passed the Vote by Mail bill and it awaits Governor's Ige signature. It is a pilot program across Kauai for all elections which will begin in 2020. Voting rights advocates hail the change and are hopeful that initiating this pilot program is the first step in implementing Vote By Mail through Hawai'i in the future. House Bill 1401
The Hawaii State Office of Elections supports voting by mail, and in 2014 and 2016 more than half of the state’s voters already voted absentee. Hawaii is ready to vote by mail!
The League of Women Voters of Hawaii has long been an advocate of voting by mail. This measure has the potential to revolutionize Hawaii’s elections, modernizing the process, increasing efficiency, offering more flexibility and allowing for more voices to be heard.
Voter turnout has already increased in Washington, Oregon and Colorado – the three states which already conduct elections by mail. Also, those election administrations haven’t reported any additional complications or voter fraud.
How Does It Work?
- A few weeks before Election Day, ballots are mailed to every registered voter (no request or application necessary).
- Voters mark the ballot at their convenience and place completed ballots into a secrecy envelope. That envelope and its contents are sealed inside another secure prepaid envelope, which has a signed affidavit on its exterior. The voter must sign the outside envelope for their ballot to be counted.
- Completed ballots can be mailed to the county clerk in the prepaid envelope, or dropped off at an in-person voter service center by 6 p.m. on Election Day.
- Voting officials check the signature of the postmarked envelope to verify the sender is a registered voter, then the ballot is separated from the envelope and electronically tabulated to maintain confidentiality.
What Are the Benefits?
- decreasing expenses, saving the state an estimated $800,000 per election cycle
- saving time, reducing the need for poll sites and staff on Election Day
- promoting informed decisions, providing voters with more time to study the ballot, review questions and compare candidates
- increasing voter turnout, where Hawaii consistently ranks lowest in the nation
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is voting by mail less secret than voting in a polling both? While voting by mail can make it easier to intimidate a voter by demand to see the voter’s ballot or taking it, the Office of Elections already provides assistance to voters experiencing these problems.
- Will voting by mail relax protections against fraud? No. Citizen oversight will to continue, with election observers overseeing voter service centers, control centers, counting centers and their volunteers.
- What if a voter doesn’t receive a ballot, or if it’s lost or stolen? Voters may contact their County Clerk to request a replacement ballot and request an investigation if they believe their mailed ballot was stolen. Voters can also visit a service center during early voting or on Election Day to void their lost ballot and complete a new one.
If you would like to see more, click on the link to watch our video.