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Ballot access requirements for political candidates in Hawaii

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This page contains extensive information about ballot access requirements for state and federal candidates running for elected office in the state of Hawaii. Offices included are:

This page contains information on specific filing dates for each election year, how to become a candidate, how to create a political party, campaign finance requirements, state agency contacts involved in the election process, and term limits in Hawaii. Information on running for election as a presidential candidate or for county and municipal offices is not included.

Note: If you have any questions or comments about this page, email us.

Year-specific dates


See also: Hawaii elections, 2014

Hawaii will have a primary election on August 9, 2014 and a general election on November 4, 2014. Voters will elect candidates to serve in the following state and federal offices:

Candidate filing in Hawaii began February 3, 2014 and ended June 3, 2014.[1] Petitions to qualify as a new political party in time for the 2014 elections were due February 20, 2014.[2] These deadlines, in addition to campaign finance reporting deadlines, are included in the table below.[3]

Legend:      Ballot Access     Campaign Finance     Election Date

Dates and Requirements for Candidates in 2014
Deadline Event Type Event Description
February 3, 2014 Ballot Access Candidate filing begins
February 20, 2014 Ballot Access Deadline to submit petitions to qualify a new political party
June 3, 2014 Ballot Access Candidate filing deadline
June 10, 2014 Ballot Access Last day to challenge candidates' Nomination Papers or political party petitions
July 10, 2014 Campaign Finance First Preliminary Primary Report due
July 30, 2014 Campaign Finance Second Preliminary Primary Report due
August 9, 2014 Election Date Primary election date
August 29, 2014 Campaign Finance Final Primary Report due
October 27, 2014 Campaign Finance Preliminary General Report due
November 4, 2014 Election Date General election
December 4, 2014 Campaign Finance Final Election Report due

Political parties

See also: List of political parties in the United States

As of February 2014, Hawaii officially recognizes five political parties.[4][5] In order to be recognized by the state, a political party must fulfill certain requirements, which are detailed below in "Process to establish a political party."

Party Website link By-laws/Platform link
Democratic Party Party platform
Green Party Party by-laws
Independent Party
Libertarian Party Key Tenets
Republican Party Party platform

In some states, a candidate may choose to have a label other than that of an officially recognized party appear alongside his or her name on the ballot. Such labels are called political party designations. A political party designation would be used when a candidate qualifies as an independent, but prefers to use a different label. Hawaii does not allow candidates to identify in this way. A total of 25 states allow candidates to use political party designations in non-presidential elections.{{{Reference}}}

The 11 states listed below (and Washington, D.C.) do not provide a process for political organizations to gain qualified status in advance of an election. Instead, in these states, an aspirant party must first field candidates using party designations. If the candidate or candidates win the requisite votes, the organization may then be recognized as an official political party. In these states, a political party can be formed only if the candidate in the general election obtains a specific number of votes. The number of votes required and type of race vary from state to state. Details can be found on the state-specific requirements pages.[6]


Independent Party qualifies

On February 20, 2014 the Independent Party of Hawaii turned in a petition to gain ballot access for the 2014 elections. The party estimated that it submitted approximately 2,000 signatures, and they needed at least 706, which is one-tenth of one percent of of the number of registered voters in the 2012 general election. Just a few hours later, the State Office of Elections verified that they had enough signatures to be ballot-qualified.[7][8]

Process to establish a political party

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Chapter 11, Part V of the Hawaii Revised Statutes

The definition of a political party in Hawaii is an association of voters united to promote a common political end or to carry out a particular line of political policy. The party must maintain a general organization throughout the state as well as a regularly constituted central committee and county committees. In addition to that, a political party must also have had candidates running in the last general election and have achieved one of the following:[9]

  1. The party received 10 percent of all votes cast for statewide office or in at least 50 percent of the congressional districts.
  2. The party received at least 4 percent of all votes cast for either all state senate offices or all state representative offices statewide.
  3. The party received at least 2 percent of all votes cast for all state senate offices and all state representative offices combined statewide.

If a group did not receive enough votes to qualify as a political party, or if a group wishes to create a new political party, that group must qualify by petition using the process described below.

  1. To receive a petition for ballot access, a group must apply for the petition from the office of elections. Applications for petitions must include:[2][10]
    • The name of the group
    • The address and telephone number of the group
    • The name and telephone number of a contact person for the group
  2. Upon receipt of the application, the office of elections will prescribe the petition upon which the group can collect signatures for ballot access. The petition should declare the intention of the signers to qualify as a political party and state the name of the new party.[2][10]
  3. The number of signatures collected to gain ballot access must be equal to at least 0.1 percent of the total registered voters of the state as of the most recent general election.

For an example of the number of signatures required, look to the table below.[2]

Number of registered voters in 2012 general election Number of signatures required to gain ballot access in 2014
705,668 706
  • The qualifying petition must be filed with the office of elections by the 170th day before the primary election. When filing the petition, the following must also be filed:[2]
    • The names and addresses of the officers of the central committee of the political party
    • The names and addresses of the officers of the respective county committees of the political party
    • The party rules
  • Any amendments to the party rules must be filed within 30 days of their adoption.[11]

Maintaining party status

Once a political party has qualified by petition and continued to qualify for three consecutive elections, that party will be considered qualified for a period of 10 years without needing to petition, provided the party continues to field candidates for election to public office. The 10-year period begins with the next regularly scheduled general election. At the end of the 10-year period, the party must either have qualified by receiving enough votes for their fielded candidates or else must re-qualify by petition.[10]

Process to become a candidate

Figure 1: This is an Application for a Nomination Paper for candidates seeking ballot access in Hawaii.

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Chapter 12, Part I of the Hawaii Revised Statutes

In Hawaii, all candidates appear on the primary election ballot. No candidate may run in the general election unless he or she has been nominated in the immediately preceding primary election. In the primary election, a candidate may run as a nonpartisan or as a member of a political party. Nonpartisan candidates appear on a separate, nonpartisan ballot.[12][13][14]

Nomination papers

To be placed on the ballot, a candidate must first file an Application for a Nomination Paper with the Office of Elections. Nomination papers are available on the first business day in February in every even-numbered year.[13][15]

Nomination papers must be signed by electors qualified to vote for the office the candidate seeks. The number of signatures required is as follows:[13][16]

A signer may sign for only one candidate per office, unless there is more than one seat available for that office. When signing the nomination paper, the signer must provide:[13][17]

  • his or her name
  • his or her residential address
  • his or her date of birth
  • the last four digits of his or her Social Security number
  • a statement verifying that he or she is qualified to vote for the candidate and that he or she nominates the candidate for the office specified

The following must also be included on the nomination paper:[17]

  • the residential address and county in which the candidate resides
  • a sworn certification by self-subscribing oath by the candidate affirming that he or she is qualified for the office sought and that all the information provided by the candidate on the nomination paper is true and correct
  • a sworn certification by self-subscribing oath by a party candidate that the candidate is a member of the party whose affiliation is indicated on the nomination paper (this is only required of political party candidates)

Filing nomination papers

The deadline to file nomination papers is the first Tuesday in June. Candidates are advised to file papers early and to collect more than the minimum number of signatures. Exceptions or extensions on filing are prohibited, and once a nomination paper has been filed, a candidate cannot add more signatures.[18][13]

A candidate who holds public office with a term not normally scheduled for election in the same year as the office sought must resign from his or her current office before filing to be a candidate for a new office. When filing nomination papers, the candidate must certify, by self-subscribing oath, that he or she has resigned from his or her former office.[13]

At the time of filing, the candidate must designate what name he or she wishes to appear on the ballot. A candidate is allowed a maximum of 27 typed spaces on the ballot for names, which includes all letters, spaces and punctuation marks. Titles are not permitted as part of a candidate's name.[13]

Upon filing, the candidate must sign before a notary public a written oath of affirmation. In order to sign the oath, the candidate must provide a photo ID to the notary public.[13][19]

Any challenges or objections to a candidate's nomination paper must be raised before the 60th day before the primary election. Challenges and objections may be raised by registered voters, political party officers who were named on the nomination paper, or by the Chief Election Officer.[13][20]

Filing fees

Filing fees are due when the nomination paper is filed and must be paid by cash, money order, or certified cashier’s check. Personal or campaign checks will not be accepted. Filing fees may be discounted if the candidate agrees to abide by the state’s voluntary spending limits. Filing fees vary by office sought and are detailed in the table below.[13][18]

Office sought Filing fee Discounted filing fee
U.S. Senator or U.S. Representative $75 Not applicable
Governor or Lieutenant Governor $750 $75
All other offices $250 $25

If a candidate cannot afford to pay the filing fee, he or she can instead file an Affidavit to Establish Indigence of Candidate and a Petition to Place the Name of an Indigent Candidate on the State of Hawaii Primary. The petition must be signed by one-half of 1 percent of the total number of registered voters as of the most recent general election in the district in which the candidate seeks election.[13][18]

Qualifying for the general election ballot

The party candidate who receives the most votes at the primary election advances to the general election.[21]

A nonpartisan candidate can move on to the general election ballot in one of the following ways:[14]

  • by receiving at least 10 percent of the votes cast for the office
  • by receiving a number of votes equal to the lowest vote received by the partisan candidate who was nominated in the primary election for the office

If more nonpartisan candidates gain access to the general election ballot than there are offices up for election, only the nonpartisan candidate who received the highest vote for the office will move on to the general election.[14][21]

Petition requirements

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Chapter 12 Part I, Section 6 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes

In some cases, political parties and/or candidates may need to obtain signatures via the petition process to gain ballot access. This section outlines the laws and regulations pertaining to petitions and circulators in Hawaii.

Format requirements

In Hawaii, petitions are used to establish new political parties or to waive filing fees. Petitions are prescribed to political parties and candidates by the Office of Elections. Petition sets should not be separated.[22][23]

Political party petitions

To establish a new political party, signatures equal to 0.1 percent of the total registered voters in the state as of the most recent general election must be collected on a petition. Completed petitions must then be verified by the Office of Elections. These petitions can only be verified based on the information stated on the petition. That information is compared with information contained in the official voter register. Signatures may not be counted if signers provide illegible or inconsistent information. For example, the address provided on the petition must match the address where the signer is registered to vote. Mailing addresses are not acceptable. The signatures of signers are also checked. They must match the signature on the signer's most recent voter registration affidavit.[22]

Petition to waive filing fees

To waive a filing fee, candidates must circulate a petition to collect signatures equal to 0.5 percent of the total voters registered at the last preceding general election in the district from which the candidate seeks election. These petitions must be filed when the candidate files his or her Nomination Paper.[24][23]

Circulation requirements

The Hawaii Revised Statutes do not address any requirements for petition circulators. Specifically, there are no residency requirements for circulators.


Signers may withdraw their names from a petition as long as the petition has not yet been filed with the Office of Elections. To do so, signers must file a written notice with the Office of Elections, which includes the following information:[22]

  • The signer's name
  • The signer's social security number
  • The signer's residence address
  • The signer's date of birth
  • The signer's signature, included with the printed name under which the signer is registered to vote.

Any objections to political party petitions must be filed by 4:30 p.m. on the 20th business day after the petition has been filed. If an objection is filed, a decision regarding the objection will be made either within 30 days of the objection being filed or no later than the 100th day before the primary, whichever occurs first. If no objections are raised before the 20th business day, the petition will be approved.[25]

Campaign finance

Figure 2: This is an Affidavit to Voluntarily Agree with Campaign Expenditure Limits in the state of Hawaii.

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Chapter 11, Part XIII of the Hawaii Revised Statutes (Campaign Spending Law)

General requirements

Each candidate must register a candidate committee with the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission within 10 days of either filing nomination papers for a state or local office with the Hawaii Office of Elections or county clerk's office or receiving contributions or making expenditures in an aggregate amount of more than $100.[26][27]

The registration process begins by completing the "Candidate Committee Electronic Filing Form" and submitting it to the commission's office. The form is available on the commission's website. The candidate, chairperson, and treasurer of the committee must sign the form. The commission will send a website username and password to the committee. After gaining access to the website, the candidate must continue by completing an Organizational Report, which must include the following:[26][28]

  1. the name and mailing address of the candidate and candidate committee
  2. the name and signature of a chairperson and deputy chairperson
  3. the name and signature of a campaign treasurer and deputy campaign treasurer
  4. committee depository (bank) to deposit contributions and to make expenditures

Reporting requirements

Complete records of campaign contributions and expenditures must be maintained for at least five years.[26]

By law, a candidate who runs for office in Hawaii is required to file reports electronically even if the candidate raises or spends no money. The candidate and treasurer must file preliminary and final reports that disclose the following information:[29]

  1. the candidate committee's name and address
  2. the cash on hand at the beginning of the reporting period and election period
  3. the reporting period and election period aggregate totals for contributions, expenditures, other receipts, and loans
  4. the cash on hand at the end of the reporting period
  5. the surplus or deficit at the end of the reporting period

Contribution limits

The table below summarizes contribution limits in Hawaii. Limits apply to the entire election cycle (primary and general elections).

Contribution limits in Hawaii
Office Contribution limit
Four-year statewide office (governor and lieutenant governor) $6,000
Four-year non-statewide office (Hawaii State Senate) $4,000
Two-year office (Hawaii House of Representatives) $2,000
Source: Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission

Election-related agencies

See also: State election agencies

Candidates running for office may require some form of interaction with the following agencies:

Hawaii Office of Elections

Why: Oversees candidate filing and election procedures.
802 Lehua Avenue
Pearl City, Hawaii 96782
Telephone: (808) 453-8683
Toll Free: (800) 442-8683
Fax: (808) 453-6006

Campaign Spending Commission

Why: Oversees the campaign finance process by enforcing laws, administering public finance and training campaign committees.
Leiopapa A Kamehameha Building
235 S. Beretania Street, Room 300
Honolulu, HI 96813
Telephone: (808) 586-0285
Fax: (808) 586-0288

Hawaii State Ethics Commission

Why: Administers and enforces the governmental ethics and lobbying laws.
Physical Address: 1001 Bishop Street, Suite 970, Honolulu, HI 96813
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 616, Honolulu, HI 96809
Telephone: (808) 587-0460
Fax: (808) 587-0470

Term limits

Some Hawaii state executives are term limited. These limits are established in Article V, Sections 1 and 2 of the Hawaii Constitution.

State executives

Portal:State Executive Officials
See also: State executives with term limits and States with gubernatorial term limits

The state executive term limits in Hawaii are as follows:[30]

There are no state executives term-limited in 2014.

State legislators

See also: State legislatures with term limits

There are no term limits placed on Hawaii state legislators.

Congressional partisanship

See also: List of United States Representatives from Hawaii and List of United States Senators from Hawaii

Here is the current partisan breakdown of the congressional members from Hawaii:

Congressional Partisan Breakdown from Hawaii
Party U.S. Senate U.S. House Total
     Democratic Party 2 2 4
     Republican Party 0 0 0
TOTALS as of April 2015 2 2 4

State legislative partisanship

Portal:State legislatures

Here is the current partisan breakdown of members of the state legislature of Hawaii:

State Senate

Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 24
     Republican Party 1
Total 25

State House

Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 44
     Republican Party 7
Total 51

See also

External links

Official state and federal links



Other information


  1. Hawaii Office of Elections Website, "2014 Candidates," accessed November 7, 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Office of Elections Factsheet, "The Petition Process To Qualify a Political Party For Election Ballot Purposes in the State Of Hawaii," accessed November 7, 2013
  3. Hawaii Revised Statutes, "Chapter 11, Part XIII, Section 334," accessed March 13, 2014
  4. Hawaii Office of Elections, "Factsheet: 2014 Qualified Political Parties," Updated March 21, 2014
  5. Ballot Access News, "Independent Party Submits Signatures to be a Qualified Party in Hawaii," February 24, 2014
  6. E-mail consultation with ballot access expert Richard Winger in January 2014.
  7. KHON2, "Hannemann could run for governor under new party," Updated February 21, 2014
  8. West Hawaii Today, "New political party registers in Hawaii," February 22, 2014
  9. Hawaii Revised Statutes, "Chapter 11, Part V, Section 61," accessed March 12, 2014
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Hawaii Revised Statutes, "Chapter 11, Part V, Section 62," accessed March 12, 2014
  11. Hawaii Revised Statutes, "Chapter 11, Part V, Section 63," accessed March 12, 2014
  12. Hawaii Revised Statutes, "Chapter 12, Part I, Section 2," accessed March 12, 2014
  13. 13.00 13.01 13.02 13.03 13.04 13.05 13.06 13.07 13.08 13.09 13.10 Hawaii Office of Elections, "Factsheet: 2014 Filing Process," Revised February 3, 2014
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Hawaii Office of Elections, "Factsheet: Nonpartisan Candidates Qualification for the General Election," accessed March 12, 2014
  15. Hawaii Revised Statutes, "Chapter 12, Part I, Section 2.5," accessed March 12, 2014
  16. Hawaii Revised Statutes, "Chapter 12, Part I, Section 5," accessed March 12, 2014
  17. 17.0 17.1 Hawaii Revised Statutes, "Chapter 12, Part I, Section 3," accessed March 12, 2014
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Hawaii Revised Statutes, "Chapter 12, Part I, Section 6," accessed March 12, 2014
  19. Hawaii Revised Statutes, "Chapter 12, Part I, Section 7," accessed March 13, 2014
  20. Hawaii Revised Statutes, "Chapter 12, Part I, Section 8," accessed March 13, 2014
  21. 21.0 21.1 Hawaii Revised Statutes, "Chapter 12, Part IV, Section 41," accessed March 13, 2014
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Office of Elections Factsheet, "The Petition Process To Qualify a Political Party For Election Ballot Purposes in the State Of Hawaii," accessed November 7, 2013
  23. 23.0 23.1 Hawaii Revised Statutes, "Chapter 12, Part I, Section 6," accessed March 12, 2014
  24. Hawaii Office of Elections, "Factsheet: 2014 Filing Process," Revised February 3, 2014
  25. Hawaii Revised Statutes, "Chapter 11, Part V, Section 62," accessed March 12, 2014
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission, "Candidate Committee Guidebook," accessed March 12, 2014
  27. Hawaii Revised Statutes, "Chapter 11, Part XIII, Section 321," accessed March 12, 2014
  28. Hawaii Revised Statutes, "Chapter 11, Part XIII, Section 322," accessed March 12, 2014
  29. Hawaii Revised Statutes, "Chapter 11, Part XIII, Section 333," accessed March 12, 2014
  30. Hawaii Constitution, "Article V, Sections 1 and 2," accessed November 7, 2013