Hawaii prepares for an all mail voting system

With the presidential election now less than a year away, Hawaii is preparing for a complete overhaul in the way the state votes.

For the primary and general elections in 2020, Hawaii is moving towards an all mail voting system.

That means traditional Election Day polling sites are gone, and instead, all registered voters will receive their ballots in the mail.

From there, they can either mail them back, or drop them off at locations set up around the islands.

In the last presidential election in 2016, more people voted prior to Election Day than the day of. State lawmakers are hoping to build on that momentum, and that all mail voting will lead to a higher turnout.

But today, they met with county clerks who say there will be a steep learning curve. “I know that there’s some people who are accustomed to visiting a polling place on Election Day and there’s value in that,” says Hawaii County Clerk Jon Henricks.

He says especially in rural parts of Hawaii, many people are accustomed to the traditional way of voting. It’s why county clerks are focusing their efforts of messaging, making people aware of the new system so that they’re not surprised or alarmed when the get a ballot in the mail even though they didn’t request it.

Counties will still have in person centers set up 10 days before the election. There, voters can drop off ballots, or get a new one if there is an issue.