Voters cast their ballots at Kahakai Elementary School during the 2008 General Election. (West Hawaii Today File Art)
A poll worker help a voter sign in before casting her ballot at Kahakai Elementary School during the 2008 General Election. (West Hawaii Today File Art)
Kona resident Trini Domingues attempts to find her name on the list before casting her ballot at Kahakai Elementary School during the 2008 General Election. (West Hawaii Today File Art)
Thursday is the last chance for Hawaii voters to register to vote in the Aug. 11 primary election, but Big Island voters have several options to meet the 4:30 p.m. deadline.
Those who traditionally choose to skip the primary and only vote in the general election may lose their chance to decide key races.
The primary will bring finality to some races, particularly those pertaining to counties. Candidates in nonpartisan county races who receive 50 percent plus one vote in the primary are declared winners of those races and don’t have to run in the general election. The primary also determines which individuals in partisan races will run in the general election, held Nov. 6, said Rex Quidilla, who heads the voter services section for the state Office of Elections.
As of Tuesday, there are approximately 680,000 registered voters statewide, of which about 100,000 are in Hawaii County, Quidilla said.
To vote, you must be a United States citizen, a Hawaii resident and be 18 years old by election day.
“Voting is an opportunity to get involved in our country’s democratic process, and use the great right we enjoy as Americans,” Quidilla said.
Those wishing to register to vote may fill out a Wikiwiki voter registration form by visiting the elections offices, state services agencies, U.S. post offices and public libraries; going to the state Office of Elections website at hawaii.gov/elections; or finding and filling out the form in any telephone directory.
The League of Women Voters of Hawaii and the county Elections Division are also holding voter registration drives from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today and Thursday in the parking lots of Kmart in Kailua-Kona, Hilo Bayfront across from the old Iron Works, and Malama Market in Pahoa.
Because of delays caused by reapportionment, all registered voters will receive yellow postcards in the mail from the elections office verifying that their names and addresses are correct by mid- to late July. However, people can always verify that they’re registered, as well as confirm their polling place, by calling Hawaii County’s Elections Division at 961-8277, Quidilla said.
Those who moved and failed to update their addresses may come to the polls on Election Day only to find they need to fill out a form to update their information or even go to another polling place. Poll workers should be able to assist such registered voters, he said.
Anyone who does not meet Thursday’s primary registration deadline and would still like to vote in the general election will need to register by Oct. 8.
Any registered voter may request to vote absentee either by mail or in person for the primary and general elections.
Seasonal and permanent absentee applications are available.
Quidilla encourages the public to complete applications as soon as possible and no later than at least a week before election days. For the primary, the absentee walk-in voting period is July 30 through Aug. 9 and the last day to request an absentee mail ballot is Aug. 4. For the general election, voters may request an absentee ballot from Sept. 7 to Oct. 3, and the walk-in voting period is Oct. 23 through Nov. 3. All mailed absentee ballots must be returned to the county clerk by 6 p.m. on election day.