Hawai‘i Herald Columnist
Kūpuna are the most important voting bloc in Hawai‘i and the nation. Older voters vote in greater numbers than other age groups and therefore help decide elections. Politicians know this and should know that they must pay attention to the issues that affect kūpuna if they want our vote.
You can be sure AARP will make sure politicians keep their promises. That’s why we lobbied Congress for legislation to lower prescription drug costs. It’s why we pushed for a bill in Hawai‘i to create a state-facilitated retirement savings program, so all workers can access payroll savings – the easiest and most effective way for people to save for retirement.
Any day now, registered voters in Hawai‘i should receive their ballot and voting packet in the mail. Because Hawai‘i has an all-mail election, there will not be traditional polling places on primary election day, Aug. 13.
If you are registered and don’t receive your ballot by July 26, contact your county elections division. Go to the state Office of Elections website at elections.hawaii.gov or call 453-VOTE (8683) or toll-free at 800-453-VOTE (8683) to get county phone numbers. Register to vote or change your address if you’ve moved using the Online Voter Registration System at elections.hawaii.gov. You can also sign up for the new BallotTrax service, which will tell you if your ballot is in the mail, if it has been received and if it will be counted.
Because all political parties are on the paper ballot that arrives in the mail, make sure you vote for candidates in only one party and nonpartisan ballots. If you vote for candidates in more than one party, your ballot is spoiled and the multi-party votes will not be counted.
If you make a mistake or lose your ballot, contact your county elections office and ask for a replacement ballot. Do not use white out. You can get contact information for county elections offices at elections.hawaii.gov or by calling the state Office of Elections.
The Office of Elections website also has information on Voter Service Centers and Ballot Drop Boxes and their dates and hours of operation. Not all Voter Service Centers and drop boxes are open on Election Day and the dates and hours vary.
If you return your ballot by mail, be sure to mail it at least seven days before Election Day so it arrives before the deadline of 7 p.m. on Aug. 13. With an all-mail election, Election Day is more like an election deadline. Late ballots received after 7 p.m. on Aug. 13 won’t be counted. If it’s less than a week before Election Day, bring your ballot at a Ballot Drop Box or Voter Service Center.
Don’t forget to sign your ballot envelope. If you forget to sign or if there’s a problem with your signature, your ballot won’t be counted unless you correct the signature problem by Aug. 22.
If you haven’t registered to vote, you can still register and vote in person on the same day at a Voter Service Center.
For more information on voting in Hawai‘i, go to aarp.org/hivotes.
Craig Gima is communications director at AARP Hawai‘i. He is an award-winning multimedia communicator with more than 30 years of experience. A Honolulu native, Gima spent nearly 19 years at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in a variety of reporting, editing and online roles before joining AARP in 2016. Gima graduated cum laude from the University of Southern California.