On June 5th, members of the State Legislature sent a joint letter to the Hawaii County Clerk requesting the establishment of additional Voting Service Centers and places of deposit. The text of the letter is below. Click here for the PDF of the letter.
*** Text of the Letter ***
June 5, 2020
Mr. Jon Henricks
County Clerk, County of Hawaii
25 Aupuni Street, Suite 1402
Hilo, HI 96820
Dear Mr. Henricks:
Re: Voting during COVID-19
Hawaii Island residents will be voting by mail for the first time this August. We are proud to provide
a safe and convenient way to vote during this COVID-19 pandemic.
We, the entire Hawaii Island delegation, recognize that voting by mail should be complemented with
a sufficient number of Voter Service Centers (VSC) and places of deposit to be successful, especially
during this initial transition. Based on the May 15, 2020 Proclamation, only two VSCs and seven
places of deposit, two of which double as VSCs, are planned for the County of Hawaii with
approximately 115,406 voters. We strongly urge you to consider establishing additional VSCs and
places of deposit.
It is common for new voting procedures to cause issues the first time they are implemented. These
problems may be exacerbated by stressors caused by the pandemic. Constituents in rural areas with
poor mail access, houseless individuals, those with disabilities, and constituents needing language
assistance benefit from safe and healthy in-person voting options. Hours of travel just to reach one of
two planned VSCs puts a burden on our kupuna. To ensure all residents can exercise their right to
vote, please consider:
• Additional places of deposit in Hawi, Laupahoehoe, and Waikoloa Village, at a minimum.
• All places of deposit be open 24 hours a day for the convenience of voters.
• Mobile places of deposit available at voter information booths in convenient locations.
• Additional VSCs in Waimea/Kamuela, Naalehu, and Waikoloa Village, at a minimum.
• All VSCs be open into the evenings for the convenience of voters.
• VSCs and places of deposit located on government facilities be accessible to the public in the
event a second wave of coronavirus shutters government facilities in August and November.
More than $3.2 million in CARES Act funding was awarded to help Hawaii properly transition to voting by mail during this pandemic. The State of Hawaii Office of Elections stated that the funds may be used for additional VSCs and places of deposit. For these reasons and more, we strongly support establishing additional VSCs and places of deposit on Hawaii Island.
Representative Joy A. San Buenaventura
on behalf of:
Representative Mark M. Nakashima
Representative Chris Todd
Representative Richard H.K. Onishi
Representative Richard P. Creagan
Representative Nicole E. Lowen
Representative David A. Tarnas
Senator Lorraine R. Inouye
Senator Kaialiʻi Kahele
Senator Russell E. Ruderman
Senator Dru Mamo Kanuha