Voter Registration in Hawaii
Thanks to state protections that promote residents’ ability to exercise their voting rights, individuals who are qualified can register to vote in Hawaii as late as Election Day. However, the state strongly encourages voters to complete the voter registration process in advance. Residents who wait to register or to update their registrations risk running in to complications that delay their vote or prevent them from casting a ballot altogether. Completing the process and receiving a voter registration card prior to Election Day is the only way for voters to ensure that they will be able to vote when and how they wish when the time comes.
Hawaii does not allow voters to register or to change voter registration information through the Department of Motor Vehicles. It does, however, make voter services available through a variety of other public service institutions and facilities such as libraries and post offices. Registration requirements may vary depending on how a resident wishes to vote.
Who can register to vote in Hawaii?
The first question residents exploring how to register to vote in Hawaii must answer is whether or not they meet the minimum eligibility requirements. Applicants must be United States citizens and legal residents of Hawaii to qualify.
Not all individuals living in Hawaii are considered legal residents. New or temporary transplants to the state may still be considered residents of the states in which they lived previously. To change a voter registration from another state to Hawaii, voters must show evidence that they have made their home in the state, such as by holding a Hawaii drivers license.
Hawaiians may not vote until they are 18 years of age, but they can initiate the voter registration process as early as 16 years of age. Pre-registered voters will automatically become eligible to vote when they turn 18.
Hawaii Voter Registration Deadline
Many potential voters do not ask, “Am I registered to vote?” until national Election Day. Unfortunately, this can deprive them of the opportunity to fully exercise their rights. Properly registered voters may qualify to vote in primary elections, which take place well in advance of general Election Day. Depending on where and how voters intend to register, they will need to begin in July or August to vote in the primaries and October or early November to participate in the general election.
Potential voters who have not registered to vote by the appropriate deadline may be able to register at a polling place on general election day. In addition to proof of identity, late registrants may need to provide qualifying evidence of a permanent address. For the purpose of voter registration, this includes:
- A recent utility bill or bank statement.
- A government-issued check or paycheck.
- Other government-issued documents clearly showing registrants’ names and addresses.
How to Register to Vote in Hawaii
Those deciding how to register to vote in Hawaii have three options. They can apply online, in person or by mail. Applications can be printed, completed and mailed to applicants’ local County Clerk’s Offices. Applicants registering to vote in person can submit their documents at the elections offices, their county clerk’s office, state libraries and United States Post Offices. Some state agencies and satellite city hall sites may also accept applications.
In addition to their application forms, prospective voters must supply a qualifying form of personal identification, such as a Hawaii drivers license or non-driver ID, a valid military ID card or a current United States passport.
Prospective voters wondering, “How can I know if I am registered to vote?” can verify their registration status online using their drivers licenses and Social Security Numbers (SSNs). Alternatively, residents may call 808-453-VOTE for assistance.
Once residents have registered to vote, they do not need to re-register or update their registrations unless or until they change their names or addresses.
Early Voting in Hawaii
Hawaii voter registration card holders are not required to wait until General Election Day to place their votes. Voters may cast their ballots early by mail or in person. Voters can elect to vote by mail each election cycle or may request one-time mail-in ballots for specific election cycles.
Voters who have requested permanent mail-in ballots will receive their ballots in advance of Election Day each election cycle. Voter registration cardholders in need of a one-time ballot may request to have their ballots mailed to them as late as one week before the election. All mail-in ballots must be returned to the appropriate county clerk’s office by end of voting on Election Day to be counted.
Applicants wondering, “Where do I vote early in person?” can obtain a complete list of participating locations from Hawaii’s Office of Elections. Sites open approximately 10 days before the primary and general elections. Voters may cast their votes at any time during that period. Voters should take their voter registration cards or acceptable ID with them when voting, just as they would on Election Day.
Hawaii Voter Registration for Active Duty Military and Out-of-State Residents
Prospective voters who are serving in the military or are living out of state or overseas may register to vote online or by mail using the same methods and documents as all other voters. They can request absentee or mail-in ballots on a temporary or permanent basis at their discretion.
Hawaii Voter Registration for Absentee Voting
Hawaii voters may select the option to vote via absentee ballot when they register to vote via the same process as all voters. The Office of Elections will mail a yellow verification card to all absentee voters prior to elections, allowing them to confirm their information and make any changes or updates necessary prior to voting.
Voter Registration Cards in Hawaii
Voter registration cards are referred to as Certificates of Voter Registration in Hawaii. They can be ordered from election offices in person or by mail for a small fee. Voters requesting certificates must supply a valid drivers license or other acceptable proof of identification. Voter Registration Certificates display a voter’s basic information, including name, address and voting district as it appears on the official record.
How to Change Your Voter Registration in Hawaii
When a Hawaii voter moves, it is essential that he or she submits a voter registration change of address before the next election cycle. Similarly, voters who change their names must also update their registrations in order to ensure they will be able to vote in the next election. Residents can change voter registration addresses and names online or by mail.
In the event that voters ever wish to cancel or rescind their voting registrations, they may do so using the same methods. When updating their registrations, drivers should also be sure to change the address on their driver’s licenses, as well as on other important DMV documents like their car registrations.
How to Replace a Lost Hawaii Voter Registration Card
Hawaii voters who have lost or misplaced their Voter Registration Certificates can order a replacement from the Office of Elections online or by mail. Applicants will need to provide proof of identity and pay a small fee. It is important to note, however, that applicants do not need a certificate to vote.