Here’s what you need to know about how Hawaii’s general election will work

(Image: Hawaii News Now/file)
(Image: Hawaii News Now/file)
Updated: Jun. 11, 2020 at 1:53 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The primary and general elections in 2020 will be the first in Hawaii to be conducted almost entirely by mail. There will no traditional polling places for voters on Election Day.

Here’s more on what you need to know:

Hawaii’s registration deadline for the general election was October 5.

But if you missed the deadline, you still have options ― even if you won’t get a ballot in the mail.

Special voting centers will be opened to help you, and the state will offer same-day voter registration efforts on election day if you need it.

For more information about same-day voter registration in Hawaii, click this link to visit the state’s election website.

Given the unpredictability of the U.S. Postal Service, county elections divisions opted to send out mail ballot packets about four weeks before the general election.

The packet includes: A ballot, a secrecy sleeve, a return envelope and voting instructions.

More than 400,000 ballots were cast in Hawaii’s 2020 primary election, equating to 51.2% of the state’s registered voters ― the highest total since 1996, which also included Honolulu mayoral and U.S. presidential races.

Over the course of the last 20 years, the turnout in Hawaii’s general election has been about 20% higher than it was in the primary, which could lead to levels of voter turnout unseen in Hawaii since the early 1990s.

It’s easiest to start from the top: Republican incumbent Donald J. Trump faces former vice president Joe Biden in the race for the U.S. presidency.

A recent Civil Beat/Hawaii News Now poll of likely voters revealed overwhelming support for Biden in the race, and his 33% lead in Hawaii appears to be among the largest in any state, according to RealClear Politics.

Locally, all eyes will be on the race for Honolulu mayor, where former television executive Rick Blangiardi squares off against local businessman Keith Amemiya.

In a race between a pair of political newcomers, Blangiardi appears to have the upper hand: the Civil Beat/Hawaii News Now poll released on Oct. 13 showed a 20-point lead for Blangiardi over Amemiya, though members of the Amemiya campaign have publicly said they believe the race to be much closer.

The office of Honolulu’s prosecuting attorney is also up for grabs in a race between Steve Alm and Megan Kau, and the Hawaii County mayoral race features a contest between Mitch Roth and Ikaika Marzo.

While there won’t be traditional polling places this election season, there will be Voting Service Centers in the state.

They’ll open 10 days before the election for people who prefer to vote in person and for any registration issues.

Voters can also drop off their mail-in ballots at Voting Service Centers.

Elections officials will also open “places of deposit” around the state ― sites where you can drop off your mail-in ballot up to 7 p.m. on Election Day. You can find those sites by clicking here.

Most voters, however, will likely mail in their ballot.

They’re encouraged to return their ballots three to five days before the election to ensure the Clerk’s Office receives it in time.

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