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Fact Sheet

What is Voting by Mail?

A ballot is automatically mailed to every eligible voter (no request or application is necessary). Three states mail ballots to all eligible voters for every election. In-person voting sites may also be available for voters who would like to vote in-person and to provide additional services to voters.

Hawaii voters want the convenience of voting by mail.

In recent years, voters have increasingly opted to vote by mail instead of voting in person at walk-in polling places. In the 2014 general election, absentee ballots were the majority of votes cast.

It would be more efficient.

It would be more efficient to focus resources on absentee voting rather than the three different approaches currently used: absentee voting, absentee walk-in voting and election polling place voting. The Office of Elections estimates approximately $800 thousand would be saved in each election cycle by converting to Voting by Mail. This would be a permanent, recurring savings.

Democracy has benefited in states which use voting by mail.

Washington, Oregon, and Colorado—the three states that already conduct elections-by-mail—saw marked increases in voter turnout after implementing their mail-in system. Access to the ballot improved in the states, which have not found that holding elections by mail complicates election administration, or leads to increased voter fraud.

Improved voter education

Implementing such a system for Hawai’i would mean that voters would have a much longer time with ballots in their hands, giving them ample opportunity to consider issues and candidates and make more informed decisions.

State and County elections officials support this voting reform.

Over the 2018-2020 period, the Office of Elections could implement voting-by-mail, building on the already popular absentee and permanent absentee voting programs.

There is widespread support for this approach in our State legislature.

In the 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions, a vote by mail bill advanced to conference committee. Leadership in both houses needs a “nudge” to implement what members and the public believe should be done.


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