Kokua Line: Voter will be alerted if ballot envelope raises red flag
Question: With the all-mail ballot, will a voter know if their ballot is rejected because the signature doesn’t seem to match?
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Question: With the all-mail ballot, will a voter know if their ballot is rejected because the signature doesn’t seem to match? In other words, if the envelope comes back and the signature is questioned, will the ballot be rejected outright? Or will the voter get to verify the signature?
Answer: The voter will be contacted and will have up to five business days after the election to correct any problem with their ballot’s return identification envelope. This is spelled out in Act 136, which establishes voting by mail for all Hawaii elections starting with the 2020 primary.
The law, which you can read at 808ne.ws/act136, explains that each ballot package will contain an official ballot, a secrecy envelope or sleeve, a return identification envelope with prepaid postage, and instructions. Voters will sign the return identification envelope before mailing it back (or dropping it off). The signature will be compared with the signature on file with the county elections office before the vote is counted.
Section 11-F of the law describes the handling of “deficient return identification envelopes.”
If a return identification envelope is submitted with an unsigned affirmation, the affirmation signature does not match the reference signature or there’s some other problem with the envelope that would prevent the ballot it contains from being counted, the clerk “shall make an attempt to notify the voter by first class mail, telephone, or electronic mail to inform the voter of the procedure to correct the deficiency. The voter shall have five business days after the date of the election to cure the deficiency.”
Per section 11-H(c), the clerk must retain any ballot for which validity cannot be established upon receipt and may not mix it with ballots already deemed valid. No ballot can be included in an initial tabulation until it is deemed valid.
Voters who have moved since casting a ballot in the last election should make sure their voter registration is up to date, as ballots will be mailed to the address on file and will not be forwarded.
A few voter service centers will open 10 business days before an election for people who want to drop off ballots in person or register to vote.
Q: Can they count the other ballots while they are waiting to verify the ones without signatures?
A: Yes. “The counting of ballots and disclosure of subsequent election results may continue during the time period permitted to cure a deficiency” under Section 11-F, the law says.
Q: What will happen to the energy produced by the wind turbines in Kahuku? Will the electricity be fed into HECO’s grid for general use on Oahu, or will it be reserved for HECO customers in Kahuku?
A: It will go to the grid for general use on Oahu. AES, which faces community opposition as it builds eight 568-feet turbines on the North Shore, plans to sell the electricity generated by the wind farm to Hawaiian Electric Co., for use throughout Oahu.
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Mahalo to the person who turned in my black bag to Hawaii Kai Costco on the evening of Oct. 28. I am very grateful for your honesty. — Mahalo, Auntie Mo
My car jumped the curb at the entrance of the Hawaii Kai shopping center near McDonald’s. The back left tire was off the ground, so the car could not move. Along came a couple who helped by putting a small rock in front of the tire and telling me to drive forward slowly. Problem solved, thanks to the wonderful couple. — Lucky senior
Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.