Please Mr. Postman, Is There A Ballot For Me?

flickr: DonkeyHotey

Editor's Note: This is the sixth in a series of stories examining Hawaii's low voter participation rates. Read previous stories in the series as well as other initiatives Civil Beat is undertaking to understand why people don't vote.

Oregon has conducted all elections by mail since 1998, when voters approved a ballot initiative to abandon the tradition of voting on election day at designated polling places.

Last year, neighboring Washington state followed suit by requiring all counties to adopt the ballot-by-mail system. Several other states rely on all-mail balloting for certain types of elections.

Elections conducted entirely by mail offer the ultimate in convenience voting, removing barriers and making casting a ballot as simple and easy as dropping a letter in the mail, proponents say.

Since adopting the vote by mail approach, both Oregon and Washington have been among the states with the highest total voter turnout.

“People love it, and voter turnout has gone up tremendously in states with all-mail elections,” said Todd Belt, associate professor of political science at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

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