Hawaii officials discuss plans for vote-by-mail elections

HONOLULU — Hawaii election officials were scheduled to brief lawmakers Wednesday about the start of all-mail voting next year.

Clerks from each of the state’s four major counties were expected to speak at the state Capitol, along with Chief Election Officer Scott Nago.

Gov. David Ige earlier this year signed legislation instituting voting by mail across all counties starting with the 2020 primary election on August 8.

Hawaii is the fourth state to shift to all-mail elections. Oregon was the first in 2000, followed by Washington state and Colorado.

Many Hawaii voters have already been voting by mail by using absentee ballots.

In 2014, more than half of primary election voters cast their ballots early, and about 83 percent of them voted using a mail-in absentee ballot.

Lawmakers initially planned for Kauai County to run a pilot program for all-mail voting next year. But they decided to extend the program across the state to reduce logistical issues.

Primary election voters will start receiving their ballots and instructions on July 21. To be counted, the ballots must be mailed so that they are received by election officials on election day.

Election authorities will set up a limited number of voter service centers where people may drop off their mail-in ballots or cast their ballots in person if they choose. For the primary, these will open on July 27 and remain operating through election day.

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