How to Register, Vote and Track Your Ballot in Hawaii

Posted on 11/21/22 by Jessica Ravitz, Natalie Missakian

En español | Hawaii became a vote-by-mail state in 2020. Every registered voter is automatically sent a ballot, although in-person voting remains an option.

The 2022 midterms decided races for the U.S. Senate and House, state Senate and House, governor, lieutenant governor and several other state offices. The next statewide elections are in 2024.

An attendant helps a driver drop off a ballot on Election Day in Honolulu.

  • Upcoming elections: Find information about elections at the Hawaii Office of Elections website when it becomes available.
  • Mail-in voting: Every registered voter automatically receives a ballot in the mail, under a state law that took effect in 2020.
  • Early in-person voting: Cast your ballot at any voter service center in your county beginning 10 days before an election.
  • Voting at the polls: Hawaii votes mostly by mail, but some voter service centers are open for walk-in voting and same-day registration on Election Day. You’ll need to show an ID.

A law taking effect in 2023 introduces ranked choice voting for special federal elections and elections to fill vacant county council seats, allowing voters to rank candidates in order of preference.

A redistricting plan changed the boundaries of the U.S. congressional and some legislative districts, and may affect which candidates appear on your ballot.

  • Online: Sign into Hawaii’s online voter registration system. You must have a Hawaii driver’s license or state ID card and a Social Security number to access the system. You can register online at any time before or on Election Day.
  • By mail: Complete a voter registration application and send it to your county elections division. If you can’t download the application, call the state Office of Elections at 808-453-8683 or email to request a paper copy. You can also pick up an application at U.S. post offices, state libraries, satellite city halls and most state agencies. The state recommends registering early to ensure you receive a ballot at least 18 days before an election.
  • In person: Visit a voter service center, where you can register or update your registration and vote on the same day. Or go to your county elections division or the state Office of Elections. You can also register when applying for a driver’s license or state ID at the Department of Motor Vehicles , or when applying for certain public assistance programs.

If you don’t have a Hawaii driver’s license, state ID card or a Social Security number, you can still register to vote by mail or in person, although first-time voters registering by mail without these need to provide proof of identification. Acceptable proof includes a current photo ID card or a current bank statement, utility bill, paycheck or government document showing your name and address.

Yes. Even though you don’t need to declare a political affiliation when you register to vote, you can vote for only one party’s candidates on the primary election ballot. Primaries for all political parties are included on the same ballot, so be sure to vote in only one — or your vote won’t count. 

Every registered voter will automatically receive a ballot in the mail no later than 18 days before an election. If you do not receive your ballot, contact your county elections division

If you are temporarily away from home and need your ballot sent to a different mailing address, you can submit an absentee ballot application by mail or in person. 

  • By mail: Send it to your county elections division using the prepaid, preaddressed envelope included in your ballot packet. The state suggests mailing your ballot at least a week in advance. Ballots must be received (not postmarked) by 7 p.m. on Election Day. 

  • In person: Return it to any ballot drop box or a voter service center in your county by 7 p.m. on Election Day. Drop box and voter service center locations can be found on the Office of Elections website.

Be sure to sign your return envelope, as election officials will verify your signature against the one on file with your voter registration. If a ballot is returned without a signature, you’ll be contacted to provide one.   

If you’re a voter with special needs, you can request an electronic ballot on your voter registration or absentee application.

Yes. Sign up at BallotTrax or contact your county elections division to check on the status of your ballot. 

Yes. Voter service centers will be open starting 10 days before the election for same-day registration, accessible voting and for those who prefer to vote in person. Check the Office of Elections website for locations and hours.

Because Hawaii’s elections are mostly by mail, no precinct polling places will be open. But some voter service centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Check the Office of Elections website for more information.

Not for mail-in ballots. Your signature will be used to verify your identity. But bring identification if you vote at a voter service center. Other means of verifying your identity can be used there, but these will take extra time. 

Editor’s note:  This guide was updated on Nov. 21, 2022, with information about how to vote in Hawaii.

This story is provided by AARP Hawaii. Visit the AARP Hawaii page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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