Barack Obama handily won the majority of delegates up for grabs during the Aloha State’s democratic caucus. He and his half-sister both campaigned on their home turf, including attending several fundraisers (for more detail, see the entry “Barack Obama’s Sister Maya Like Him, But Funnier“).
If you want to know more about how Hawaii’s democratic presidential primary caucus worked on February 19th, read on.
After Super Tuesday, the Democratic nomination was still up for grabs. For the first time ever, Hawaii’s voters had a say in the democratic presidential primary that mattered.
Here’s how to participate in future caucuses and elections in Hawaii:
1. Register to vote
If you are already a registered voter in Hawaii and identified yourself as a democrat, there’s no need to re-register. If you haven’t voted before or want to change your party affiliation, you can register in several ways:
- Follow this link to the Hawaii Voter Registration website where you can download the registration form to complete and return by mail. This registration form is also available for free at every post office in Hawaii, satellite city halls, local libraries, phone books, state services offices and on University of Hawaii campuses.
- Alternately, you can register to vote in person by going to the office of the City or County Clerk on the island where you reside. Follow this link for the fact sheet that contains address and telephone information for all counties.
2. Locate your caucus precinct
Your caucus location is determined by your State House district and precinct. Caucuses are held on February 19th and start at 7:00 PM. Many sites are opening earlier for registration and for those who join the Party that night.
- Find your state House district at the Hawaii State Legislature website.
- Once you know your district, you can find the caucus location for your precinct at the Hawaii Democrats website.
3. Show up and vote
The only way to participate is to show up in person. Unfortunately, no absentee voting is allowed. If you are an independent voter, you must register with the Democratic party in advance, but if not you can sign up at the door.
Like most of the United States, the democrats in Hawaii award delegates on a proportional basis. In other words, the 20 delegates up for grabs will be distributed to each candidate based on how many votes he or she wins in the caucuses.
With the chase for democratic delegates continuing after Super Tuesday, 2008 could be an exceptional year politically. Hawaii’s votes in the democratic presidential primary are going to count afterall.
Caucus vs. Primary
What is the difference between a caucus and a primary? Basically, the difference comes down to how people vote. Hawaii’s democratic “primary” on February 19 is actually a caucus.
A Primary lasts 12 hours, and individuals line up and vote one at a time. Voting can be done by many different devices – cards, ballots, machines, etc. It is done by precinct. The votes are counted at the close of the polls. Absentee voting is possible.
Caucuses are like town meetings. Everyone gathers at one time and in one location by precinct. The different sides present the arguements for their candidates, at at the end everyone votes at one time. The votes are counted after the last person votes. Absentee voting is not possible.
For more information about the Hawaii Democratic Party, visit their website at www.hawaiidemocrats.org or contact them at:
Democratic Party of Hawai’i
1050 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite D-26
Honolulu, HI 96814
phone (808) 596-2980 – fax (808) 596-2985