More than 200 candidates are still in the running for federal, state and local offices and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs as Hawaii moves toward Election Day on Nov. 8.

Most candidates are affiliated with the Democratic and Republican parties, although a few Libertarians, a few from the Green and Aloha Aina parties and even two nonpartisan candidates survived the Aug. 13 primary for Congress and the Legislature.

The primary election is always the most important in Hawaii because the state is so heavily dominated by one political party — the Democrats.

The big race this year is for Hawaii’s governor and a heated Democratic primary ended with Lt. Gov. Josh Green getting the party’s nod. He and running mate state Rep. Sylvia Luke will face former Republican Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona and Seaula Jr. Tupai in the general.

Kapolei Hale Primary Election 2022 Ballot Box
All counties have drop box locations in addition to mail-in voting and some in-person voting locations. Ku‘u Kauanoe/Civil Beat/2022

About 50 candidates are left in races for county councils, mayors’ offices and the OHA board of trustees. Those are all nonpartisan races by law.

A dozen state legislators won their seats outright in the primary, either by defeating a primary opponent or because they had no one running against them. All 76 state legislative seats were on the ballot this year due to redistricting, which happens every 10 years.

Eight of the nine Hawaii County Council seats also were won in the primary because the candidate received more than 50% of the vote. Only District 2 advanced to the general.

Maui and Kauai voters still need to select mayors as well as council members in the general election.

And four of Honolulu’s nine City Council seats will be decided in November after a number of candidates advanced to runoffs from the primary.

The run-up to the primary was tense, with candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and the 2nd Congressional District advertising heavily and fending off attacks either from opposing candidates or super PACs that spent millions of dollars attacking certain candidates.

Several races, including several in the Republican legislative primaries, were so close the votes had to be recounted. Several candidates ended up winning by slim margins, but the closest was the Democratic primary for House District 35 where Cory Chun prevailed by five votes over Nathan Takeuchi.

Civil Beat Elections Guide

The Voting Deadlines

Hawaii has historically had one of the lowest voter turnout rates in the country. But that changed dramatically in 2020 when Hawaii implemented mail-in balloting statewide. Overall voter participation was the highest it had been since 1994, although it still lags behind the tremendous turnout rates after statehood in 1959.

Many political observers were disappointed in the turnout for the Aug. 13 primary, which reached 39.5%.

Voters are also able to register online to vote. The deadline to register to vote for the Nov. 8 election is Oct. 21.

If you miss the deadline to register for the election, you can still walk in and register before and on Election Day (with proper ID or documentation of your residency) at Voter Service Centers, which will be open Oct. 25 through Nov. 8.

You can find the dates for early voting and the steps and deadline to request an absentee ballot on the state Office of Elections website.

The elections office says ballots for the general election are expected to begin arriving in the mail by Oct. 21. But ballots actually were sent out a few days earlier than the anticipated date for the primary. In fact, Honolulu elections officials now say they will be mailing ballots to Oahu voters on Oct. 17 and 18. Ballot drop boxes at all 15 locations on Oahu will open on Oct. 18.

The County Elections Divisions also provide voter service centers that will be open 10 days prior to and on Election Day. Services include accessible in-person voting and same-day registration. And all counties have drop box locations.

Ballots must be received by the state and counties by 7 p.m. on Election Day. Drop boxes will be locked as soon as the clock strikes 7. If you vote in person at one of the voter centers you can still vote as long as you are in line by 7.

This map from the state Office of Elections shows the locations of voting centers and drop boxes:

The 2022 Races

You can read the full list of candidates who will be on the general election ballot here. 

Federal races are at the top of the ballot. No U.S. senator from Hawaii has ever lost reelection, and only one U.S. representative from Hawaii failed to get reelected. Such is the power of incumbency in Hawaii, especially for majority Democrats.

In November, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz will face Republican state Rep. Bob McDermott as well as candidates from the Green, Libertarian and Aloha Aina parties.

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Ed Case in the 1st Congressional District (the greater Honolulu area) easily defeated his primary challenger, political newcomer Sergio Alcubilla. He’s up against Republican Conrad Kress and the Green Party’s Calvin Griffin in the general.

Former state Sen. Jill Tokuda won a nasty Democratic primary fight against state House Rep. Pat Branco and four other Democrats in the 2nd Congressional District (the rest of Oahu and all the neighbor islands). She faces GOP contender Joe Akana and Michelle Tippens from the Libertarian Party in November.

The CD2 seat is open because U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele decided not to seek a second term in Congress and instead ran for governor. That turned out to be an ill-fated venture — he and businesswoman Vicky Cayetano were defeated in the gubernatorial primary by Green, who prevailed with about 60% of the Democratic vote.

Luke also fended off a close challenge in the lieutenant governor’s race from several candidates in a primary fight marked by a barrage of negative attack ads.

The pair will square off against Republican candidates Aiona, who prevailed over a number of contenders in the gubernatorial primary, and Tupai, a little-known Honolulu resident who goes by Jr. and defeated two other candidates in the GOP primary for lieutenant governor.

At the Hawaii Legislature all 25 Senate seats and 51 House seats were up this year due to reapportionment, which redraws district lines every 10 years based on the latest census data. While House seats are always for two years, the four-year Senate seats will be staggered: Districts 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 12, 16, 18, 19, 22, 23 and 24 will serve a two-year term beginning in 2023 while Districts 2, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 17, 20, 21 and 25 will serve a four-year term. The 12 seats up for election in 2024 will then resume the normal four-year term.

Departures of top lawmakers such as Sen. Roz Baker and Luke mean the 2023 legislative session will have leadership changes. There are also many incumbents seeking reelection although several lost in the August primary.

Three state senators — Democrats Gil Keith-Agaran, Dru Kanuha and Republican Kurt Favella — faced no opposition in either the primary or the general and have been reelected.

In the House, seven members have been reelected due to a lack of opponents — they include Republican Gene Ward and Democrats Mark Nakashima, Richard Onishi, Nicole Lowen, Scott Nishimoto and Linda Ichiyama.

The Ballot Questions

There will not be any constitutional amendment questions on the general election ballot in 2022. But all four counties will have charter amendment questions on their respective ballots.

They include proposals to expand the duties of the Hawaii County auditor, to disclose disagreements between the Maui Police Commission and the police chief regarding officer conduct, to require Kauai County prosecutor elections to be held at the same time as other regularly scheduled county elections, and a call for the City and County of Honolulu to increase the mandatory percentage of the city’s estimated real property tax revenues to be appropriated annually for deposit into the Affordable Housing Fund.

Maui County residents were still waiting in line to vote in the primary after the polls closed at 7 p.m. on Aug. 13. Marina Riker/Civil Beat/2022

Civil Beat’s Election Guide

The Hawaii Office of Elections website is the best place to find any information you need about the elections including how and when to register, how to find your polling place and when you can begin casting your ballot.

You can keep up with all of Civil Beat’s coverage as the election season progresses in our Hawaii Elections 2022 Guide.

Meanwhile, here are some other resources we’ve put together to help you through the 2020 elections:

Unofficial 2022 General Election Ballot: Our way to help you keep track of races and candidates in your district. We are once again sending out questionnaires to candidates, asking them to give us their positions on key issues that are particular to the office for which they’re running. You will be able to find links to these Q&As on this page. Please note that not all candidates return the surveys despite repeated requests by our elections editor.

Hawaii Civics 101: Our series of short, explainer videos helps you understand politics, government and democracy in the Aloha State.

The Civil Beat Poll: We conduct our own independent polls on a variety of topics and issues as election season moves along. The first of the 2022 election season polls published in late June. Check here to read what Hawaii has said about statewide and local races and issues in previous polls.

Civil Beat Politics: Learn more about candidates and issues by joining our Facebook Group, Civil Beat Politics. We aim to promote civil — yet spirited — discussion of and participation in the 2020 election. You can air your thoughts on campaigns, candidates and issues along with your friends, colleagues and even political rivals. But it’s also a place to connect with others in the community who want to become more active in this year’s elections.

Voter Education And Turnout

Get information and help from these organizations:

League of Women Voters of Hawaii

Pew Charitable Trusts/Research Center

Vote Smart

Campaign Finance Resources

Both the state and the federal government impose contribution limits when giving directly to candidates. Money has been flowing to candidates and political committees for the 2020 elections. You can follow the money yourself on a number of online campaign and political sites:

Federal candidates and committees:

• Center for Responsive Politics

Federal Election Commission

Campaign Finance Institute

State candidates and committees:

Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission

National Institute on Money In State Politics

Elections Offices Statewide

These offices oversee the elections in Hawaii:

Hawaii Office of Elections

City and County of Honolulu

Hawaii County

Maui County

Kauai County

Political Parties

Democratic Party of Hawaii

Hawaii Republican Party

Libertarian Party of Hawaii

The Green Party of Hawaii

Aloha Aina Party

Constitution Party of Hawaii

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