Hawaii’s ruling Democrats today canceled plans for walk-in voting in the presidential polling that had been scheduled for April 4, and also announced they will delay their state convention by more than three months to the weekend of Sept. 5 and 6.
In an email to party members this morning, Interim State Party Chairwoman Kate Stanley said party officials plan to add a new round of mail-in balloting to the party-run presidential primary so that people who had planned to vote in person on April 4 can still participate in the polling.
“In the meantime, we urge everyone who has received, or will be receiving a ballot, to cast their vote and mail it back,” said Stanley in her statement.
The party this year launched a new vote-by-mail-system for the U.S. presidential balloting, but also had scheduled walk-in voting for April 4 for those who preferred to participate in person.
The voting is open only to party members, and will help decide how Hawaii delegates will be apportioned among the national candidates for president at the national convention scheduled for July 13–16 in Milwaukee.
Party officials had hoped the new vote-by-mail system would boost turnout. Nearly 34,000 state Democrats voted in walk-in voting in 2016.
The charges are in response to the spread of the coronavirus.
“In these times, the only certainty is that there is uncertainty,” Stanley wrote. “Stay safe, take care of one another, and stay tuned for future updates regarding our plans.”
Stanley added in her email, “County Conventions are being postponed, canceled, or county party business is being conducted by other means. Your counties will let you know what their plans are as soon as they are able.”
The state convention had been planned for May 23-24. “We are currently working with our vendor and the (Democratic National Committee) on a way to select our delegates which does not involve meeting in person,” Stanley wrote.
The party headquarters on South Street in Honolulu is closed as of today, and all employees are telecommuting until further notice.
“We will not be scheduling any additional in person meetings and are asking for all currently scheduled meetings to be reassessed,” according to the announcement. “If you are a caucus or committee chair we are advising you not to congregate and to meet using video/teleconferencing if necessary.”