Governor to Sign Same-Day Voter Registration Bill into Law
By Wendy Osher
A measure aimed at increasing voter turnout by a projected 5-7% will be signed into law today by Governor Neil Abercrombie.
The new law is designed to reform elections in Hawaiʻi by allowing voter registration at early-voting locations in 2016, and at all Election Day polling sites in 2018.
Representative Kaniela Ing of South Maui who introduced the bill said it recognizes the many factors of low voter turnout, and looks to same-day registration as an “immediately effective short-term solution.”
In addition to improving voter turnout, the Ing cited national studies in earlier reports, saying the measure is also expected to increase voting among 18-25 year-olds by 7-9%.
“Hawaii was number one for voter turnout during the 1960s. 50 years later, we are dead last,” said Ing in a press release announcement. “Newly engaged voters will no longer be disenfranchised by arbitrary deadlines based on technological limitations that no longer exist. It is time to take our turnout and turn it around.”
The state recorded a 61.9% voter turnout in the 2012 General Election — including a 33.5% precinct and 28.4% absentee turnout. In the 2012 General Election, Maui’s voter turnout was even lower at 56.8% — including a 35.9% precinct and 21% absentee turnout.