The news is finally coming out of Iowa! Well, not really. I’m guessing it will be several more days before the final, final, final results are announced.
Full disclosure: Though I am Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawai’i, this column is not written for or on behalf of the Hawai’i Democratic Party – but is my personal and individual voice only.
Note: I could write here also about the Hawai’i Republican Party process to select their Presidential Candidate, but they have canceled it for 2020, preferring to maintain their support for the recently impeached (but yes, acquitted), incumbent.
But the reality in Hawai’i is that our government is dominated by elected officials at all levels who are members of the Democratic Party. Conventional wisdom says that you must be a Democrat to win in a state legislative race. This results in the status quo with many, some would say a majority who are “DINO’s” (Democrats in name only). But that story is for another time.
Back to Iowa.
Those that follow the news, know that Iowa’s presidential caucus process was a mess, a veritable debacle as many are calling it.
Hawai’i Democrats will be taking our turn at the “presidential primary/caucus/preference-poll” event – on April 4th – via a different process.
If you are a registered Hawai’i Democrat you will be mailed a ballot and you will be allowed to vote in the Hawai’i Presidential Preference Poll, choosing between up to a dozen Democratic candidates who have been campaigning across the United States for the past 12 months or longer.
Many residents think they are Democrats simply because they normally vote in the regular Democratic primary elections. This is not the case – You have to actually go to the Democratic Party of Hawai’i Website and sign up to be a member of the Party to be considered a Registered Democrat and thus qualify to vote in the April 4th, Hawai’i Presidential Preference Poll.
All the info to join the Hawai’i Democratic Party is here: hawaiidemocrats.org
Register to vote here: olvr.hawaii.gov
The Democratic Party process in 2020 will be by mail-in ballots, with a limited number of polling stations open on the actual day (April 4th).
To participate in the first round, residents have to be both registered to vote in the State of Hawai’i AND be registered members of the Democratic Party of Hawai’i – by February 18.
The second round of ballots will be mailed to those who register after Feb. 18th and prior to March 8th.
While people can also register to vote, enroll with the party and vote in person on April 4, polling locations will be limited and thus people are strongly encouraged to vote early and vote by mail.
Those who are not sure if they are a member of the Democratic Party, or have moved during the past year, are encouraged to register again just in case.
In order to avoid the fiasco that was Iowa, Hawai’i residents who intend to participate in the Democratic Party of Hawaii’s Presidential Preference Poll (presidential primary) must become informed and share the info with friends and family.
The Democratic Party of Hawaii’s Presidential Preference Poll will be conducted mostly by direct mail.
• To participate residents must be registered to vote in the State of Hawai’i and must be actual members of the Democratic Party of Hawai’i (not just people who normally vote democrat).
• People that are registered Democrats by February 18th, will receive their ballots in the mail first.
• Those that register late but before March 8th will receive their ballots also in the mail during the second mailing.
• For everyone else, there will be limited polling places available for “walk-in” voting (and registering) on the final day of April 4th.
• This election will feature “ranked-choice voting” allowing voters to list their preferred candidates from 1 – 3.
So please, let’s avoid Iowa.
Register to vote and register with the Democratic Party of Hawai’i now, before February 18th – then vote by mail early. That is, if you want to participate in our democracy and help choose the next president of the United States of America.
Gary Hooser formerly served in the Hawaii State Senate, where he was Majority Leader. He also served for eight years on the Kauai County Council and was the former director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control. He serves presently in a volunteer capacity as board president of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA) and is executive director of the Pono Hawaii Initiative.