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Hawaiʻi is months away from its first primary election done entirely by mail

An "I Voted" sticker in California on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP
FR170512 AP
An "I Voted" sticker in California on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Hawaiʻi is just months away from the statewide primary election — the first one that will be done entirely by mail.

All 76 positions at the state Legislature are up for grabs this year, in addition to Hawaiʻi governor, lieutenant governor, and both of Hawaiʻi's seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The state Office of Elections has been a beehive of activity lately. It bounced back after a challenge to reapportionment earlier this year, leaving potential candidates unsure which office to run for.

Candidates had until the close of business on June 7 to file. Hawaiʻi Chief Election Officer Scott Nago says you’d be surprised how many election hopefuls wait until the last minute.

Former Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona was among the candidates that filed on Tuesday — entering the race for governor as a Republican.

election candidates catherine cruz
Catherine Cruz

Nago says voters should have already received their voter registration cards in the mail. The cards say which specific contests you will be voting in.

"If you haven't received your yellow card, you should contact your (county) clerk’s office to see what's up with your registration," Nago said.

"Important to note that ballots are not forwardable. So if you did move or you updated your address, you need to update it with the registration system — which you can go online to do if you have a Hawaiʻi Driver's License, or Hawaiʻi State ID or fill out a new voter registration form and send it in," Nago told The Conversation.

Registered voters will begin receiving primary election ballots on July 26. The primary is on Saturday, Aug. 13 and the general election is on Nov. 8.

Nago says those who still want an in-person voting experience can drop off their ballots at community Voter Service Centers.

"There seems to be a lot of interest in the elections this year. Whether or not that translates to voter turnout, it remains to be seen," Nago added.

More information about voter registration can be found at elections.hawaii.gov. This interview aired on The Conversation on June 7, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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