Have you heard?

There’s an election in Hawaii just over 10 days from now and people have already started voting.

On voter-dense Oahu alone, nearly 30,000 ballots have already been returned to the Honolulu City Clerk’s office as of late last week.

That office has received about 153,000 absentee ballot requests this election season, eclipsing the number sent out in the 2016 general election, when the U.S. presidential contest was the premier attraction.

That number is expected to rise before Saturday’s 4:30 p.m. deadline to send in a request for a mail ballot.

Honolulu Hale early voting general election as people line up to cast their ballots. 4 nov 2016
Early voting for the 2016 general election was brisk at Honolulu Hale. Absentee ballots for the 2018 primary are reported to be significantly higher. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The early interest is encouraging, because when it comes to voter turnout Hawaii ranks at the bottom nationally.

We’re not going to dwell on the negative. Rather, we want to remind the citizens of Hawaii that it’s never been easier to vote than now.

Here’s how you can do your civic duty:

  • Download a Voter Registration and Permanent Absentee Application and mail or deliver it to your respective county clerk (that is, the City and County of Honolulu, the County of Hawaii, the County of Maui or the County of Kauai)
  • Or, visit an early walk-in location for registering and voting in your county, which opened for business Monday and will stay open weekdays and Saturdays through close of business Aug. 9.
  • Want to track your ballot to make sure when your mail ballot was sent and if it was received and accepted? Click here.
  • Use that same link to request a replacement if you damage, lose or make a mistake in marking your mail ballot.
  • Not sure of your district, precinct and polling place? And want to see who is on your ballot? Click here and scroll down.
  • Have no idea where that polling place is? Click here.
  • Not sure who is running? Here’s the complete primary ballot.
  • Mystified as to the date of the primary? It’s Aug. 11 — a Saturday, for God’s sake, and with no UH football game scheduled, either.

Want to learn more about the candidates? Go to Civil Beat’s popular Hawaii Elections 2018: Primary Ballot page to find your candidate, listed by race, and read Q&As. Our Hawaii Elections Guide 2018 has links to useful stories, commentary and other information, including our short Hawaii Civics 101 explanatory videos.

The general election is Nov. 6, so it will be rinse, wash and repeat.

And come 2020, Kauai will experiment with all mail-in voting, which has proved popular and convenient in some mainland locales. If it’s a hit, the entire state may adopt the process by 2022.

So, get off your damn okole and get with the program. There are contested races for governor, lieutenant governor and Congress, as well as dozens of other state and county elections.

It’s called democracy, people.

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