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OHA encourages first-time native Hawaiian voters

By: Aloha Lau 

20 November 2020

Alice Silbanuz shares her manaʻo on mail-in voting (Photo Aloha Lau).

OHA has been producing TV and radio voting promotional advertisements with instructional help on how to go about the process. These small efforts in spreading the word on how beneficial voting is for the Hawaiian community create hope for change in the near future. The advertisements incorporate Hawaiian professional athletes like ‘Ilima MacFarlane, as well as local recording artists like Amy Hanaialiʻi and Paula Fuga.


Ka Wai Ola, OHA’s monthly newspaper, has also dedicated a special election issue to provide advertisements on the mail-in processes and information on the candidates.


The Aloha Rising Campaign isn’t advertisements solely; they’ve also created an online webinar series that reoccurs every Thursday at 2 p.m. on their OHA Facebook page. The webinars discuss hard-hitting topics of discussion featuring special guest speakers.


“This year, we’ve added another layer of outreach that really focuses on the issues that affect the Native Hawaiian people,” Silbanuz said. “It [the webinars] allows them to tune in, be engaged, and understand the issues that affect them.”


Aloha Rising webinars focus on land rights, ‘iwi kupuna, health and wellness, and so much more. In each show, OHA encourages their audience to feel moved in discussion and use the knowledge they gain to vote for pono leaders that resonate with their values.


OHA empowers their Native Hawaiian beneficiaries to use their voices to seek change, especially in this coming election. However, their message is not limited to Native Hawaiians; they want all of Hawaiʻi to vote for a better future ahead.

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The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) has been frantically pushing out media and resources to encourage their beneficiaries to vote and take pride in their voice.


“Aloha Rising. Vote 2020” is a campaign created by OHA designed to grasp the attention of young, first-time Native Hawaiian voters. 


OHA has been sharing information on how to register to vote and demonstrate how to vote with the new mail-in ballot system.


Digital and Print Media (DPM) Manager for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Alice Silbanuz, shares what her staff has been doing to promote the Aloha Rising campaign as well as their intentions with the work they’ve produced.

“I think mail-in voting is definitely allowed more people to participate in the election,” said Silbanuz, “As you can see in the primary election, we had over 400,000 people submit their ballots this year.”


Silbanuz detailed that her DPM staff has been tirelessly providing mail-in voting advertisements that focus on the necessity of voting and making your vote count.


“Since this is the first time that Hawaiʻi is doing all-mail in voting, OHA has really focused on educating our beneficiaries on the process,” said Silbanuz, “what we’ve been doing is we’ve been promoting getting registered online.”

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