Voting in the 2018 general election has begun now that the county clerks on three islands sent out tens of thousands of absentee mail-in ballots during the past week.
The Elections Division of the Kauai County Clerk’s office mailed ballots to about 14,000 absentee mail-in voters over the weekend, and those voters should begin receiving their ballots today.
On Maui, a spokeswoman for the clerk’s office said 29,280 ballots were mailed out on Oct. 9, and the clerk’s office on Hawaii island shipped out another 38,546 mail in ballots on Oct. 10.
Honolulu officials plan to mail out more than 164,817 ballots by the close of business on Tuesday, and those ballots should begin arriving in Oahu mailboxes by Wednesday, according to a city spokesman.
In recent elections more than 60 percent of Hawaii voters have cast their ballots by mail or at walk-in absentee voting facilities before the official election day, which this year will fall on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Walk-in absentee voting begins at locations in each of the counties on Oct. 23, and will continue until Nov. 3.
The deadline to apply for an absentee mail ballot is 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 30. To be counted, a voted absentee mail ballot must be received by elections officials by 6 p.m. on general election day, which is Tuesday, Nov. 6.
On the general election ballot this year is the race for governor, with Republican House Minority Leader Andria Tupola hoping to unseat Democratic Gov. David Ige, who is seeking a second four-year term.
State Sen. Josh Green, a Democrat, is running for lieutenant governor against Marissa Kerns, who is the Republican owner of a shipping and transportation company.
Also at stake are Hawaii’s two U.S. House seats, with former U.S. Rep. Ed Case running against Republican former state Rep. Cam Cavasso to represent urban Honolulu. In rural Oahu and on the neighbor islands, Democratic U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is seeking a fourth term in Congress, and is opposed by Republican author and singer Brian Evans.
U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, a Democrat, is also seeking re-election to another six-year term, and is being opposed by Republican retiree Ron Curtis of Kauai.