VOTING BY MAIL
In the more than 50 years since the Honolulu chapter was established the League has remained true to its founding principle: to make democracy work. Voting is the most fundamental way to have your voice heard, and it is the core of democracy which is why League members continue to rally behind an important cause--voting by mail.
What is Voting by Mail?
Voting by mail is a logical expansion of the current absentee ballot voting system. How it works:
Approximately three weeks prior to Election Day a ballot is mailed to every registered voter, no extra application necessary.
Voters mark the ballot at their convenience then place completed ballots into a secrecy envelope. That envelope and its contents are sealed inside another secure prepaid envelope which has a signed affidavit on its exterior. The voter must sign this outside envelope for the ballot to be counted.
Once completed, ballots can be mailed to the county clerk in the prepaid envelope or collected at an in-person voter service center by 6:00PM on Election Day.
Upon receipt, voting officials check the signature on the exterior of the postmarked envelope to verify the sender is a registered voter.
Finally, the interior secret ballot is separated from the envelope and electronically tabulated to maintain the confidentiality of your vote.
Lost or damaged ballots can be replaced by the county clerks, who will cancel your original ballot before issuing a replacement. In-person voting will continue to be available for voters who would like to vote in-person. It will be possible to register to vote and update your voter registration at voter service centers where additional voter services will continue to remain available.
Why Voting by Mail?
There are significant advantages to voting by mail across the state:
VBM is convenient. In recent years, voters have increasingly opted to vote absentee instead of voting in person at walk-in polling places. During the 2016 general election, 53.6% of Hawaii voters cast their ballots by mail.
VBM encourages informed decisions since voters have several days after receipt of a ballot to compare candidates and review ballot questions.
There are many safeguards already in place to prevent voting and elections fraud. In Hawaii and states that already use voting by mail these abuses are extremely rare. These acts are felonies punishable by law.
VBM streamlines elections, eliminating the need to run one process for in-person votes, one for absentee walk-in votes, and another for mail-in absentee votes. An electronic and paper trail of counted ballots will remain, but since the state will not have to run hundreds of polling places or pay as many poll workers, the Office of Elections estimates this will result in taxpayer savings of $800,000 dollars per election cycle.
Want to know more?
Here’s a short Fact Sheet and answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
Together with Common Cause Hawaii the League wants to ensure elections are always accessible so that every voter can make their voice heard on election day. Click here to get involved.