Maui County voters have a lot of important decisions to make. In less than two weeks, they’ll have chosen who they want to lead the $1 billion county government as mayor, fill the nine seats on the Maui County Council and decide whether they want to make big changes to the way their local government oversees affordable housing and manages water in East Maui among other charter proposals.

Maui County locator map

Voters should’ve already received their ballots in the mail. But even if you’re not registered to vote yet, it’s not too late. From how to vote in person to when you need to mail your ballot so it arrives in time, here are some answers to commonly asked questions about voting, according to information from Maui County elections officials.

Maui residents can already go register to vote or cast their vote in person at the Velma McWayne Santos Community Center in Wailuku. The center opened on Tuesday. Marina Riker/Civil Beat/2022

I’m not registered to vote. Can I still do that?

Yes. The deadline to submit a paper voter registration form to vote in the Nov. 8 general election is Monday. The last day to request an absentee ballot is Tuesday.

Civil Beat Elections Guide

You can also register to vote and cast your ballot any time on or before Election Day at Maui County voter service centers. There are three across Maui, Molokai and Lanai that will be open through Election Day, plus a pop-up that will be held in Hana.

On Maui, voters can head to the Velma McWayne Santos Community Center, also known as the Wailuku community center, which is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday until Nov. 7. On Election Day, the center is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Voters in Hana will be able to register to vote and cast their ballots at a pop-up event on Nov. 5 at the Hana High & Elementary School from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

On Molokai, the Mitchell Pauole Center Conference Room is also open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday through Nov. 7 and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.

On Lanai, the voter service center at the Lanai Community Center opens Tuesday and runs through Nov. 7. The hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, except on Election Day, when it’s open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

When do I need to get my ballot in by so it’s counted?

Elections officials say the earlier, the better. Ballots must be received — not postmarked — by 7 p.m. on Nov. 8, otherwise they won’t be counted. In the Aug. 13 primary election, the Maui County clerk’s office received 538 late ballots that arrived after the deadline passed so they weren’t counted.

It’s recommended that voters mail their ballots before Thursday or consider delivering them to one of more than a dozen ballot drop boxes at community hubs across the county.

On Molokai and Lanai, the Maui County clerk’s office has an arrangement with the U.S. Postal Service to hold all incoming mail ballots on those islands in the week before the election. On the final day, those ballots are secured and transported to Maui to be counted.

The voter service center in Wailuku. Marina Riker/Civil Beat/2022

If I’m planning to vote in person in Wailuku, should I expect a line like during the primary? Has anything been changed to make things run smoother?

During the August primary, Maui voters who went to cast their ballots on election day in Wailuku found the longest lines in the state, in some cases waiting more than an hour to vote.

There will still only be one place to vote in person on Maui on Nov. 8. But the county clerk’s office has added a ballot drop box in the parking lot, additional signs and crowd control dividers to direct people at the site.

Election officials are urging people to come early to vote if they can. Since the Wailuku voter service center opened on Tuesday, there hasn’t been a line and residents can ask election officials for help without waiting.

I’m registered to vote but I didn’t receive a ballot. What should I do?

If you haven’t received your ballot yet, call the Maui County clerk’s office at 808-270-7749 to ask for a replacement. You can also track your ballot by visiting hawaii.ballottrax.net/voter/dashboard.

An election ballot drop box in Maui County. Marina Riker/Civil Beat/2022

I want to vote in person. What should I expect?

Election officials say anyone who registers to vote in person will have to cast their ballot at that time; they’re not able to take it home and bring it back later. It’s OK for voters to bring notes with them or even check their smartphones to look up information while voting in person; they just aren’t allowed to talk loudly on the phone and disrupt others.

If you’re already registered to vote and want to cast a ballot in person at a voter service center instead of with your mail-in ballot, you’ll still be asked to fill out a form that confirms you’re registered to vote.

It used to be that election officials kept records called “poll books” — giant physical records of registered voters that election officials could use to verify that someone was eligible to vote at their polling place. That system changed after Hawaii adopted voting by mail, so now people who want to vote in person will be asked to fill out a form that verifies their address and that they’re eligible.

There are 13 charter amendments on the ballot this year, two of which have different options. What’s the difference between a “no” and a blank vote? What happens with proposals that have two options?

Any ballot question with the majority of votes cast in favor of the proposal is considered approved by voters. Blank votes aren’t counted; only “no” votes count against a proposal. Ballot questions with both “yes” and “no” marked won’t be counted either.

For the two charter amendments with two different options, if votes in favor of both options make up the majority of those cast, the version with the most votes will win. It’s up to voters to decide if they want to weigh in on both versions of a proposal or just one.

Do I need to bring an ID with me to vote in person? If so, what kind?

The most common forms of ID that people bring with them to vote are drivers licenses, state IDs and passports. But even if you don’t have an ID, you can still cast your vote by confirming other personal information about yourself.

What should I do if I need special assistance to vote?

If you or someone you know needs translation services or any other type of accommodation, call the Maui County clerk’s office at 808-270-7749.

Do you have any other questions about voting or elections? Email Civil Beat reporter Marina Starleaf Riker at mriker@civilbeat.org, and she’ll try to get them answered and add them to this list.

Civil Beat’s coverage of Maui County is supported in part by grants from the Nuestro Futuro Foundation and the Fred Baldwin Memorial Foundation.

An Important Note

If you consider nonprofit, independent news to be an essential service that helps keep our community informed, please include Civil Beat among your year-end contributions.

And for those who can, consider supporting us with a monthly gift, which helps keep our content free for those who need it most.

This year, we are making it our goal to raise $225,000 in reader support by December 31, to support our news coverage statewide and throughout the Pacific. Are you ready to help us continue this work?

About the Author