In 1960, 93 percent of Hawaii’s registered voters went to the polls in the general election. In 2012, only about 62 percent of registered voters bothered to show up on Election Day.
Hawaii has one of the lowest voter turnout rates in the country. In the past few elections, only about 40 percent of the state’s registered voters have participated in the primary election. And that’s only about 36 percent of all the people in Hawaii who are eligible to vote, registered or not.
Voters go to the polls in Hawaii Kai, 2012.
Anita Hofschneider/Civil Beat
We do better in the general election, but turnout has still been in the 50 percent range in non-presidential years and a bit above 60 percent in presidential election year. In 2008 when Hawaii’s native son, Barack Obama, was on the presidential ballot turnout climbed to 66 percent of registered voters. But in 2012, when Obama ran for re-election and won, our general election turnout faded to 62 percent.
We’d like to help improve those numbers this year. Here’s an easy place to find information on how you can participate fully in the democratic process. Check out our Hawaii Elections Guide 2014 for links to other information like campaign finance reports and candidates profiles.
And check back here as we add more information on resources and voting initiatives. The general election is Nov. 4.
How to register, including contact information for your local elections offices.
Voter registration deadline — General Election: Postmarked by Oct. 6
When to vote:
Early voting (walk-in) — General Election: Oct. 21 – Nov. 1
A registered voter may vote with an absentee ballot through the mail or in person. To vote by mail, submit an application. Or write a letter to the City and County Clerk where you are a registered to vote and ask for a ballot to be mailed to you.
On Oahu, the county clerk plans to mail primary ballots to those who have requested them on July 16. Ballots can be returned anytime after receiving them.
First day to request and submit absentee ballot — Primary and General Elections: check with Hawaii Elections Office as the redistricting legal challenge set back the schedule for candidate certification and printing of elections materials.
Last day to submit absentee ballot — General Election: Received by county clerk 4:30 p.m. Oct. 28
Patti Epler is the Editor and General Manager of Civil Beat. She's been a reporter and editor for more than 30 years, primarily in Hawaii, Alaska, Washington and Arizona. You can follow her on twitter at @PattiEpler, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 808-377-0561.