Hawaii’s general election is Nov. 3 this year.
Voting is being conducted largely through the mail for the first time. The primary election — held Aug. 8 — was considered to be a highly successful first effort.
Statewide turnout was 51.1% — the highest in more than 20 years. Approximately 400,952 ballots were mailed in while 5,473 people dropped off their ballots at one of the state’s new ballot deposit boxes or voted in person at a voter service center.
For the general election, all voters will automatically receive their ballot in the mail 18 days prior to each election. According to the Hawaii State Elections Office, ballots will begin to be mailed to the City and County of Honolulu Oct. 5 and 6, to the County of Hawaii Oct. 7, to the County of Maui Oct. 8, and to the County of Kauai Oct. 9.
State elections officials recommend putting the ballot in the mail by Oct. 27. After that date, voters should drop off their ballot at a voter service center or place of deposit.
Ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on election day — not just postmarked — and election officials will turn away voters who try to put their ballots in the deposit boxes even a few seconds after the deadline. So give yourself time to get your ballot in.
As in the primary, there will also be eight voter service centers and 36 places of deposit around the state to provide accessible in-person voting, same-day voter registration and collection of voted ballots. The centers will be open 10 days before the primary.
Candidates who won their primaries and have no general election opponent are deemed to have won the office outright and their names won’t appear on the ballot. So they are not listed here.
In Hawaii, many statewide and legislative races are effectively decided in the primary because of the overwhelming dominance of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. So whichever Democrat wins the primary often goes on to prevail in the general election.
Hawaii allows candidates to run as independents if they choose not to join a political party. But nonpartisan candidates rarely progress past the primary election because state law requires them to get at least 10 percent of the total votes cast in the primary or as many votes as the winning partisan candidate who got the least number of votes.
County-level races as well as the contests for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs are nonpartisan. Candidates are not designated as Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Greens or any other affiliation.
The race for president of the United States will top the Nov. 3 general election ballot.
Separate from the state and counties, the Democratic Party of Hawaii held an all-mail-in ballot presidential primary earlier this year. Former Vice President Joe Biden picked up the most votes and delegates.
The Republican Party of Hawaii did not hold a nominating contest, as President Donald Trump is again the nominee.
Both of Hawaii’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are up this year. Every state House seat — all 51 — is up for election along with 13 of the 25 state Senate seats, although several of those races were settled in the primary.
Other races this year are for Honolulu mayor, three of nine Honolulu City Council seats (two other open seats were won in the primary by Calvin Say and Andria Tupola), the Hawaii County mayor, and county council seats in Maui, Kauai and Hawaii counties.
The office of prosecuting attorney in Honolulu is also on the general election ballot. The race for Big Island county prosecutor was won in the primary by Kelden Waltjen, while Kauai County Prosecutor Justin Kollar ran unopposed.
Three of the nine seats on the Board of Trustees for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs will also be on the ballot — one at-large seat, one representing Hawaii island and one for Molokai. The seat for Kauai and Niihau was won by incumbent Dan Ahuna in the primary.
There are also plenty of ballot questions being posed to voters in every county.
New to Hawaii’s ballot this year is the Aloha Aina Party. According to its website, the party demands government accountability and transparency especially as it relates to the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The party believes aloha is the “greatest hope and strength” for Hawaii, the nation and world. It says it will work from within the U.S. political system to benefit keiki and kupuna.
The American Shopping Party is the creation of John Giuffre, an author of books about economics. The party, which qualified for the Hawaii ballot in 2016, appears focused on a desire to end consumerism and is influenced by ideas from eastern religions.
Some candidates have been active for months, including raising money from contributors. You can study campaign finance reports for each candidate at the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission website. The next campaign reports deadline for candidates is Oct. 1. Subsequent reports are due Oct. 26 and Nov. 2.
Three state laws enacted in 2019 apply to 2020 candidates:
Critics are concerned that voters don’t have much time to check on where candidates are getting their money, especially with the popularity of early voting in which people can begin turning in their ballots about a month before the election.
Civil Beat has been analyzing the campaign cash flowing to candidates, looking at candidates as well as contributors, including political action committees. You can find those stories in our ongoing report, Cashing In.
We also review campaign ads — on TV, the internet, radio — and provide insight into what the candidates are trying to achieve as well as pointing out any questionable factual assertions. That’s a series we call Ad Watch.
And get more information about this year’s elections, candidates and campaigns in our Hawaii Elections Guide 2020.
Below you’ll find links to information on candidates and where they stand on important issues. Many candidates have already responded to our candidate questionnaires for congressional, statewide and legislative races, as well as for the county mayor and council races. We’ve asked those who didn’t respond before the primary to do so now and we’ll include them as they come in so check back frequently.
And you’ll find information about charter amendments and ballot measures in each county. We’ll update with links to our reporting on those ballot questions as it becomes available, so check back.
There are no statewide ballot measures this year, according to the Office of Elections.
For more information, visit the Hawaii Office of Elections website.
D = Democrat, R = Republican, I = Independent, L = Libertarian, G = Green Party, C = Constitution, A = Aloha Aina, AS = American Shopping, N = Nonpartisan, NS = Nonpartisan Special
* = incumbent
Ed Case (D) *
Ron Curtis (R)
Kai Kahele (D)
Joe Akana (R)
Michelle Tippens (L)
John Giuffre (AS)
Ron Burrus (N)
Joy San Buenaventura (D)
Ron Ka-Ipo (A)
Gil Keith-Agaran (D) *
Rynette Keen (A)
Stanley Chang (D) *
Sam Slom (R)
District 16 (special election)
Bennette Misalucha (D) *
Rida Arakawa Cabanilla (D)
Kurt Fevella (R) *
Mike Gabbard (D) *
Feena Bonoan (L)
Donovan Dela Cruz (D) *
John Miller (R)
Chris Lee (D)
Kristina Kim-Marshall (R)
Mark Nakashima (D) *
Lorraine Shin (R)
Chris Todd (D) *
Devin McMackin (A)
Richard Onishi (D) *
Susan Hughes (R)
Gregor Ilagan (D)
Hope Cermelj (R)
Desmon Antone Haumea (A)
Jeanne Kapela (D)
Citlalli Johanna Decker (A)
Mike Last (L)
Justin Woodson (D) *
Angus McKelvey (D) *
Kanamu Balinbin (R)
Tina Wildberger (D) *
Howard Greenberg (A)
Lynn DeCoite (D) *
Robin Vanderpool (R)
Theresa Kapaku (A)
Nadine Nakamura (D) *
Steve Monas (R)
James Tokioka (D) *
Steve Yoder (R)
Dee Morikawa (D) *
Ana Des (R)
Keith Kogachi (D)
Gene Ward (R) *
Mark Jun Hashem (D) *
Lori Ford (R)
Bert Kobayashi (D) *
Wayne Chen (AS)
Mike Parrish (N)
Jackson Sayama (D)
Julia Allen (R)
Adrian Tam (D)
Nicholas Ochs (R)
Della Au Belatti (D) *
Andy Sexton (A)
Sonny Ganaden (D)
Tess Quilingking (R)
Sam Kong (D) *
Jenny Boyette (R)
Gregg Takayama (D) *
Keone Simon (R)
Roy Takumi (D) *
Carl Hood (R)
Keline-Kameyo Kahau (A)
Trish La Chica (D)
Val Okimoto (R) *
Ryan Yamane (D) *
Emil Svrcina (R)
Ty Cullen (D) *
Austin Maglinti (R)
Rose Martinez (D)
Bob McDermott (R) *
Matt LoPresti (D)
David Alcos (R)
Stacelynn Eli (D) *
Diamond Garcia (R)
Shaena Hoohuli (A)
Cedric Gates (D) *
Maysana Aldeguer (R)
Michael Chapman (D)
Lauren Cheape Matsumoto (R) *
Sean Quinlan (D) *
Boyd Ready (R)
Scot Matayoshi (D) *
Michael Danner (R)
Patrick Branco (D)
Kanani Souza (R)
Lisa Marten (D)
Kukana Kama-Toth (R)
Erik Ho (A)
Honolulu Ballot Questions
“Shall the Revised City Charter be amended to establish for the Prosecuting Attorney of the City and County of Honolulu a term limit of two consecutive full four-year terms, the same term limit as is applicable to the Mayor and Councilmembers of the City and County of Honolulu?”
“Shall the Revised City Charter be amended to establish a Youth Commission under the Managing Director?”
“Shall the Revised City Charter be amended to allow the Honolulu Ethics Commission to control its own budget after it has been enacted?”
“Shall the Revised Charter be amended to require ethics commission staff to be appointed based on merit principles, but exempt them from the civil service position classification plan, and to have the salaries of all ethics commission staff set by the ethics commission, subject to specified limitations?”
Hawaii County Mayor
Hawaii County Council
Hawaii County Ballot Questions
“Shall the Charter of the County of Hawaii be amended by making various technical, linguistic, and grammatical revisions through the Charter?”
“Shall the Charter of the County of Hawaii be amended to require that the Hawaii County Council hold an equal number of its regularly scheduled meetings in East Hawaii and West Hawaii?”
“Shall the Charter of the County of Hawaii be amended by clarifying the Department of Research and Development’s powers, duties, and functions?”
“Shall the Charter of the County of Hawaii be amended to authorize the Police Commission to discipline the Police Chief and the Fire Commission to discipline the Fire Chief?”
“Shall the Charter of the County of Hawaii be amended to change the term of office of Council Members to four years from the current two years, starting with the 2022 County Council term, with no current member serving more that eight consecutive years?”
“Shall the Charter of the County of Hawaii be amended to allow monies in the Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation Fund to pay salary, wages, and benefits for staff dedicated to supporting the Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation and Maintenance Funds?”
“Shall the Charter of the County of Hawaii be amended to allow the County Council to discipline its members through temporary suspensions without pay for disorderly or contemptuous behavior or failure to attend three or more regularly scheduled County Council meetings without being excused by the Chair of the County Council?”
“Shall the Charter of the County of Hawaii be amended by removing Department of Information Technology oversight of the information systems maintained by the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney and the Police Department?”
“Shall the Charter of the County of Hawaii be amended by establishing a Disaster and Emergency Fund for specific and limited purposes, to be funded by an annual appropriation of a minimum of one percent of real property taxes?”
“Shall the Charter of the County of Hawaii be amended to provide the Department of Finance full management responsibilities for the Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation Maintenance Fund and to expand the purposes for which the fund may be expended?”
“Shall the Charter of the County of Hawaii be amended to align the process by which the County Charter Commission conducts its review of the Hawaii County Charter with the current requirements of State law?”
“Shall the Charter of the County of Hawaii be amended to require that qualifications to serve as Corporation Counsel include being licensed to practice law for at least five years and having at least three years of supervisory experience?”
“Shall the Charter of the County of Hawaii be amended to modify Fire Department functions, Fire Chief qualifications, and Fire Commission powers and duties?”
“Shall the Charter of the County of Hawaii be amended to remove political party membership limits for the makeup of County boards and commissions?”
“Shall the Charter of the County of Hawaii be amended to require that capital improvement priorities be based on criteria aligned with the County General Plan, County community development plans, and emergency expenditures, and other pertinent functional plans?”
“Shall the Charter of the County of Hawaii be amended to clarify that the rules of the Board of Ethics shall have the force of law and grant the Board of Ethics authority to impose civil fines for violations of the Code of Ethics?”
Maui County Council
Alice Lee *
Tasha Kama *
Yuki Sugimura *
Alberta De Jetley
Maui County Ballot Questions
“Shall the Charter be amended to require that a minimum percentage of the certified real property tax revenues be appropriated into an affordable housing fund beyond Fiscal Year 2021, to be used for the provision, protection, and expansion of affordable housing and suitable living environments; and to increase the minimum required percentage from 2 percent to 3 percent of the certified real property tax revenues, effective July 2, 2021?”
“Shall the Charter be amended, effective January 2, 2023, to reorganize the executive branch for the County of Maui to establish an Office of the Managing Director, wherein a Managing Director, hired by the Mayor through a recruitment and selection process involving the Mayor, Council Chair, and a three-member citizen group, shall function as the County’s chief operating officer responsible for the County’s daily operations, the appointment and removal of most department heads, and the implementation of County policy; the Mayor shall be the County’s chief executive officer responsible for supervising the managing director’s work, representing the County in intergovernmental affairs, having the authority to approve or veto bills, nominating board and commission members, and enforcing provisions of the Charter, County ordinances, and all applicable laws; and authorizing various housekeeping revisions?”
“Shall the Charter be amended to establish term limits for Council members by limiting the number of terms a person may serve as a Council member to five full terms?”
“Shall the Charter be amended, effective January 2, 2021, to establish standards for interpreting and complying with the Charter, including by requiring a viable judicial action to be filed within 30 days to seek clarity when a conflict in the interpretations of the Charter is identified?”
“Shall the Charter be amended, effective January 2, 2021, to authorize the Council to appoint nine members and the Mayor to appoint two members of the 11-member Charter Commission, which is required to study and review the operation of the County government?”
“Shall the Charter be amended to establish term limits for the Mayor by limiting the number of terms a person may serve as Mayor to two full terms?”
“Shall the Charter be amended, effective July 1, 2022, to establish a Department of Agriculture to develop a sustainable regional agricultural system for Maui County?”
Kauai County Council
Bernard Carvalho Jr.
Kauai County Ballot Questions
Everyone at Civil Beat feels the weight of heightened responsibility. For the past several months our nonprofit newsroom has worked beyond our normal capacity to provide accurate information, push for accountability, amplify smart ideas and new voices, and double down on facts and context to write deeply reported local stories.
The truth is, our evolution as a public service news organization over the past 10 years has prepared us for this moment in time, when what we do matters the most.
Reader support keeps our small newsroom afloat. If you value the work of our journalists, please consider making a tax-deductible gift.