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Bill to help boost voter turnout passes

By Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 08:28 a.m. HST, May 01, 2014


A bill that will allow voters to register at polling places on the same day they cast ballots was passed this session by legislators.

The measure (HB 2590) aims to encourage voting in a state where turnout is often dismal. Once the nation's highest, Hawaii's voter turnout cratered at 44.5 percent, the nation's lowest, in the 2012 election, according to the U.S. Elections Project.

The House and Senate passed the bill, which will allow voters to register at early voting sites beginning in 2016 or at their assigned polling places on Election Day starting in 2018.

"It's about making elections relevant to the modern world," Rep. Kaniela Ing (D, Kihei-Wailea-Makena), the bill's introducer, said in a statement. "Today's policy decisions will impact young people for decades to come, and it doesn't make sense to exclude them because of arbitrary registration deadlines based on technological limitations that no longer exist."

Hawaii Chief Election Officer Scott Nago said in written testimony supporting the measure that any qualified person who wants to vote should be able to register and vote.

A measure approved Tuesday in conference committee set $100,000 toward costs. Honolulu City Clerk Bernice Mau estimates the law would cost Honolulu $190,000 during each election cycle. She opposed it on the basis of cost.

The lone vote in opposition in the Senate came from that chamber's only Republican, Sam Slom, who represents Hawaii Kai. He decried Hawaii's last-in-the-nation voter turnout but said registration opportunities are already so abundant, one more won't encourage turnout.

Rather, he said, lack of political choice depresses enthusiasm for the democratic process.

"In a lot of elections that we have, a lot of the races, there is only one candidate," Slom said on the Senate floor. "We find also that there is a prevailing sentiment among people that their vote is not going to count in this state. That's a wrong philosophy, but it's a self-fulfilling prophecy if in fact they don't vote."

The House debate was prolific. Representatives pointed to past ballot shortages at polling places as demonstrating that Hawaii elections stumble even when the number of potential voters is known. Measures to encourage turnout should thus be funded better, said Rep. James Tokioka, (D-Wailua Homesteads).

"I don't think this is enough bucks to make a bang," he said.

Other lawmakers argued that they had years to support the measure fully, and that the risk was worth it, to perhaps stir the most apathetic voters in the United States.

"If you're a new voter, and you decide to vote, you can just do it," Rep. Chris Lee (D-Kailua) said in support. "We're the worst state for voter turnout, but we don't have to be."






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what wrote:
This is a bad idea. Voting is too important to put in the hands of the uninitiated and uninformed. If you have no idea what's going on in politics, stay home. The uninformed will make a bad government worse. Voting is a serious responsibility that should be left to those who at least inform themselves of the issues and know who stands for what.
on May 1,2014 | 03:28AM
richierich wrote:
I wholeheartedly agree wit you.
on May 1,2014 | 05:38AM
1local wrote:
voter fraud helps get more democrat votes...
on May 1,2014 | 11:17AM
1local wrote:
enable voting on line - will save on labor costs and increase voter turnout.
on May 1,2014 | 11:34AM
Slow wrote:
What fraud? The actual fraud is to restrict voting or gerrymander districts. Duplicate or fictitious voting is virtually non-existent.
on May 1,2014 | 02:36PM
Slow wrote:
We have all seen folks who we hope do not vote. But determining the "uninitiated and uninformed" is impossible. Anyone who takes the time to get out and vote should be trusted. No hurdles, no tests, no arbitrary restrictions. I applaud the effort to enable our non-voting citizenry to get engaged more easily.
on May 1,2014 | 02:34PM
kuroiwaj wrote:
What, I agree with you. Have been involved in politics for some, wow 50 years now. Got my Democrat membership card from Mr. Dan Aoki in his office on the 2nd floor of the Iolani Palace in 1967. Yes, this legislation is a joke, period.
on May 1,2014 | 02:40PM
peanutgallery wrote:
This is absolute lunacy! THROW THE BUMS OUT !
on May 1,2014 | 03:59AM
AniMatsuri wrote:
Have any of these people worked(I have) at a polling place in their lives? It's already a mad house at times with what needs to be done now. All this will accomplish increase voter turn out by a very small margin and probably give more chances for voter fraud as harried poll workers slap ballots into the hands of people they will probably barely verify(if at all) as the work piles up. These college educated types with a alphabet full of degrees couldn't even figure out(they had almost 2 years) how many ballots each polling place needed and now they think they can verify eligible voters on the fly?
on May 1,2014 | 04:35AM
inverse wrote:
The fix was in against Ben to win. There were literally 8-10 BILLION reasons to use the excuse of 'math errors' in not providing enough ballots at polling stations, especially stations on the East and Windward sides where Ben had a clear advantage
on May 1,2014 | 05:46AM
Slow wrote:
Broadening democracy by easing voting registration is a worthy goal. To oppose it because the polling places are poorly organized is another issue entirely.
on May 1,2014 | 01:36PM
inverse wrote:
No need to pass laws, just make sure Nago provides enough ballots at each polling station. For example, if there are 5000 registered voters that are to vote at a given polling station then print 5000 ballots and have them at hand at the polling station BEFORE they vote. Low voter turnout in the last election had to do with voter suppression and not about when someone registers to vote. State legislatures could have opened an independent investigation on the last election but instead create this useless, ineffective measure that only tries to divert attention from the true problems on low voter counts
on May 1,2014 | 05:39AM
McCully wrote:
Do I sense a voter scam, where these legislator clowns need to squeeze out every vote. Maybe the voters who are registered should not vote at all.
on May 1,2014 | 07:05AM
GorillaSmith wrote:
This has the unmistakable stench of a Democratic Party scam to circumvent the electoral process by dramatically increasing voter fraud. How many Dem. hatchet men will vote multiple times to attain the desired results. At long last, have you no shame?
on May 1,2014 | 07:31AM
Wonderful_World wrote:
How is Scott Nago going to know how many ballots to calculate when he couldn't even get that right w/definite numbers!
on May 1,2014 | 07:48AM
PMINZ wrote:
And just how many people will register and vote same day at several poling places, I see an opening for voting FRAUD!
on May 1,2014 | 08:14AM
loquaciousone wrote:
How about giving out free sushi and poke when you turn in your ballot?
on May 1,2014 | 09:09AM
richierich wrote:
This is really a bad idea. Voters should be informed about candidates the issues they are voting on. How can anyone reasonably believe that someone who is not registered before election day has any understanding about the candidates or issues? What this does it make it easer for candidates and their supporters to round up the uninformed and deliver them to polling places to vote they way they are told. "Here's a free t-shirt and a plate lunch. Please vote democrat."
on May 1,2014 | 10:42AM
Slow wrote:
Uh-oh. The Republicans are all rich. They're the ones who can afford air-conditioned buses, cool shirts and good food as bribes..I mean incentives to participate. Not Democrats. Hey, making fantasies up is fun, yeah?
on May 1,2014 | 02:39PM
fairgame947 wrote:
Crazy idea. How will poll sitters know if this person is eligible to vote? What if that supposed voter provides an ID for a dead person who looks similar? They may have already voted themselves, then they are allowed to vote on behalf of the dead person and many other issues! This idea stinks? Fraught with big voter fraud.
on May 1,2014 | 10:58AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Based on past results, the dead people may make better choices.
on May 1,2014 | 11:14AM
Slow wrote:
Good point. Lots of fraudulent voters carry IDs of some one who looks like them. I would do it but nobody looks like me. You guys are lucky. Use common sense.
on May 1,2014 | 01:41PM
bsdetection wrote:
Don't you love the hypocritical stench of the comments from Constitution-waving conservatives as they try to restrict access to one of democracy's fundamental rights?
on May 1,2014 | 11:41AM
Slow wrote:
At least Sam Slom is consistent with Republican history. Expansion of voting is always opposed by conservatives and championed by liberals. That is why other than land-owning white males can now vote. Are you ready Sam? Backwards, march!
on May 1,2014 | 01:44PM
Slow wrote:
I read a lot of fear-mongering about voter fraud. What voter fraud? The bungled ballot mess on the island of Hawaii was not found to be criminal. And in 2010 4 people were alleged to have voted twice. No charges ever filed. "Voter fraud" is a fake issue to restrict voting.
on May 1,2014 | 01:47PM
AniMatsuri wrote:
More like after the election is over everyone tends to ignore everything except the most obvious violations because they just want to put the whole thing behind them already. "Restrict Voting"? What are you talking about? I've worked the polling places for over 10 years and have never seen anything like that. It has nothing to do with "poorly organized" on the ground just the same high minded types like you who like to spout theories instead of dealing with the reality that they couldn't get balloting right and now think they can verify voters on the fly. Rich Republicans? ha! Look again everyone in places of political and business power are all Democrats. You are still living in the plantation days if "rich" Republicans run anything.
on May 1,2014 | 09:57PM
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