OHA’s Aloha Rising series launched with an online survey on January 15, 2020, Opening Day at the Hawai‘i State Legislature. Our goal was to hear directly from the community. The survey was open from January 15 to February 15 and the question was posed: what’s important to you? Over 2,700 people participated in the survey with 88% self-identifying as Native Hawaiian or Part Hawaiian. Responses came from across Hawai‘i, from 41 states on the continent, and from three U.S. territories. According to our survey results:
• 88% of respondents plan on voting this year
• Most respondents (78%) participated in a Hawaiian cultural activity within the past year
• The average rating of elected officials’ decisions was 2.17 (out of 5), or “Extremely Dissatisfied”
• Most important Hawai‘i issues: 1) Affordable homeownership; 2) Proper management of land and water resources; 3) Native Hawaiian representation in government; 4) Poverty in Hawai’i; and 5) Access to Hawaiian Homelands
• Half of the respondents did not know about Hawai‘i’s new all-mail-in voting process
Guided by the results of this survey, the Aloha Rising Vote 2020 campaign aims to encourage more Native Hawaiians to vote and to participate in the political process. Our efforts will take place throughout the year leading up to the primary and general elections, being held on August 8 and November 3, respectively. In light of COVID-19 concerns, Aloha Rising educational activities are being reconfigured to take advantage of online sharing platforms. Whether the events are hosted digitally or in-person, the information shared will focus on the cultural importance of community building and political participation with sharing of mo‘olelo and mele by Kumu Hina; and a practical training on mail-in voting.
Remember: 2020 is the first year that Hawai‘i is doing all-mail-in ballots for both the primary and general elections. Be sure to register to vote and that your current address is registered to ensure that you receive your ballot in the mail. Also, keep in mind that precinct polling locations will not exist this year, and walk-in voting will only be available at specific locations during specific times. For more information on Hawai‘i voting and Aloha Rising, please visit www.oha.org/vote.