HONOLULU — The Hawaii Democratic party has scrapped plans for in-person voting during its party-run presidential primary on April 4 in favor of mailed ballots over concerns of the coronavirus, officials said Friday.
The party will add another round of mailed ballots to allow everyone who registers to vote by April 4 to cast a ballot.
It wasn’t immediately clear how that would affect when primary results would be released, and officials didn’t immediately return an email seeking more information.
“While we regret the need to cancel the walk-in voting locations, health and safety comes first during this challenging time,” Democratic Party of Hawaii Interim Chair Kate Stanley said in a statement.
“This third round of mail ballots will accommodate those who were planning to vote on election day by giving them the opportunity to vote by mail. However, we encourage everyone with a ballot now to mail it back as soon as possible in case there are further disruptions,” she said.
The party did away with the caucus system for this year’s presidential race, preferring to run its own primary. Besides mail ballots, party members would have had an opportunity to register and vote on April 4 at one of 21 polling sites until the cancellation.
The party is employing ranked voting, meaning voters select their top three choices for president.
Only candidates receiving at least 15% of the votes cast in a given congressional district will be allocated delegates. Votes for candidates who don’t receive at least 15% will be redistributed to voters’ second-ranked choices, starting with the candidate who received the lowest number of votes.
The outcome of the vote will determine the allocation of 24 delegates and two alternates to the Democratic National Convention.
Hawaii will have another nine automatic delegates, including Hawaii’s U.S. senators and representatives and other party leaders. The nine automatic delegates won’t vote on the first ballot at the national convention.
Hawaii Republicans canceled their presidential caucus after President Donald Trump was the only candidate to declare for the party ballot by a December deadline.