comscore Column: 111,000 with outdated voter registration won’t get ballots | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Editorial | Island Voices

Column: 111,000 with outdated voter registration won’t get ballots

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  • Scott Nago is Hawaii’s chief election officer.

    Scott Nago is Hawaii’s chief election officer.

More than 111,000 voters will not be sent a ballot in Hawaii’s first election by mail due to their outdated voter registration records. As we transition to elections by mail, our state’s historically low turnout will improve by putting a ballot in the hands of every voter.

However, with such a large number of voters who have outdated registration records, the odds of improving turnout are already against us before the ballots have even been printed. Greater participation in the electoral process begins with voter registration.

Ahead of the election, voters are sent an election mailing to confirm their voter registration. For the 2020 elections, to spread the word about elections by mail, we are sending a series of election mailings.

The first, an orange- colored card announcing the transition to elections by mail, was delivered in July 2019. A second card was sent in January 2020 providing important dates and deadlines. In April, voters should be on the lookout for another card asking for a current sample of their signature.

If you received the election mailing, and it was addressed to you, you are registered and will be sent a ballot for the upcoming 2020 elections.

If you were expecting a postcard but did not receive it, go online to or contact our office to check your status in the official voter registration database.

As a voter, you must update your voter registration whenever you move to a new residence, or change your name or mailing address. Even if you are only moving into a different unit in the same apartment building, updating your voter registration information is just as important as changing your address with your banks, utilities and on your driver license.

By law, your ballot cannot be automatically forwarded to a new address, so it is only by updating your registration that you can ensure you will receive a ballot.

Updating your registration is easy and should be done as soon as your information changes. You can update it online at, by paper application available at libraries and post offices, and even as you update your Hawaii driver’s license or state ID.

It is only when election officials and voters work together that we can ensure the accuracy and integrity of the voter registration rolls.

We can improve our state’s historically low turnout by updating the voter registration rolls and mailing each voter a ballot. In a state that historically finishes last in voter turnout, we cannot afford to have more than 111,000 people not voting.

We all have a role in the integrity and success of our elections.


For more information about registering to vote or elections by mail, contact the Office of Elections at (808) 453-VOTE (8683) or and follow us @elections808 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Correction: The previous headline on the Island Voices commentary by Scott Nago contained an incorrect number. It should be 111,000, not 110,000.
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