236,000 absentee forms to be sent to Oahu voters
Honolulu elections officials for the first time will mail 236,000 absentee ballot application forms to households with registered voters on Oahu to make voting more convenient and encourage more people to vote.
"We're hitting every household unsolicited. Usually, they have to call us or write us," City Clerk Denise DeCosta said. "It means more work for us at the county level but we just need to get more people to vote so we're doing what we can."
Households should receive the applications by next week. Registered voters need only return the application form and when the ballots are ready, they will receive their ballots in the mail.
"They vote and then they return it to us by mail or they can drop it off to us here at City Hall," said DeCosta, who urged absentee voters to turn in ballots long before election day.
The deadlines to turn in applications to request a ballot are Sept. 16 for the primary election and Oct. 31 for the general election.
Households with more than one registered voter may request additional applications from the City Clerk's Office or go to www.honolulucityclerk.us and download a copy.
While Hawaii's voter turnout has been low, absentee voting has been gaining in popularity.
"If they're busy and they don't have time to go on election day, this gives them an alternative. Increase the convenience," DeCosta said.
Hawaii law allows any registered voter to request an absentee mail ballot or vote at a walk-in site prior to election, city officials said.
DeCosta said absentee voting may benefit people who are homebound -- such as the elderly, the disabled or nondrivers -- who may have a difficult time getting to the polls on election day.
People who are "super busy" may also find it easier to vote absentee, DeCosta said.
"We want to make (voting) as pain free as possible," she said.