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State should take steps to improve voter turnout

By Staff | Jan 25, 2018

This election year looks to be epic, with a great mayor’s race and (if rumors are true) new faces emerging to run for the state legislature, similar to the dramatic shakeup of the County Council in 2017.

Will voter turnout still be dismal?

Hawaii has ranked dead last in voter turnout among all 50 states for the last five presidential elections, with only 43 percent of eligible voters casting ballots in the last, mega-hyped presidential election.

With the 2018 legislative session underway, Common Cause Hawaii – a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to protecting and improving Hawaii’s political process and holding government accountable to the public interest – remains committed to prioritizing these two initiatives to make voting more accessible.

“We should be reducing barriers to voting by implementing proven solutions like automatic voter registration and voting by mail in order to increase overall participation,” said Corie Tanida, CCH executive director, referencing voter turnout trends in states like Washington and Oregon that are already using some of these methods.

“When Hawaii has the lowest voter turnout in the nation, we must do what we can to push voter reform to the top of everyone’s agenda.”

Last year marked the third consecutive session that a vote by mail measure made it to conference and did not become law, while automatic voter registration was deferred and carried over to the 2018 regular session.

This occurred despite data confirming an increase in voter turnout in states already using a vote by mail system and an opt-out registration approach.

Automatic voter registration and voting by mail complement previously successful efforts such as online voter registration and same day voter registration.

Learn about election modernization and how to support these initiatives at www.modernelectionshi.org.