AUTOMATIC VOTER REGISTRATION SB0159 PASSED!
The 2021 Hawaii State Legislature passed SB0159 RELATED TO VOTING: Automatic Voter Registration; Driver’s License; Identification Card; Opt-in.
“I’m reaching out to urge you to pass Automatic Voter Registration into law.
Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) is a simple reform that is proven to make our elections Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) is a simple reform that is proven to make our elections much safer, more accessible, and less expensive.
AVR eases the barriers to registering to vote and helps people to participate in our democracy — and makes sure election results more accurately reflect what the people want. And, it will help make sure that mail-in ballots are sent to voters’ current, correct addresses.
It’s time to bring this vital reform to Hawaii. I hope you will sign SB0159 into law today.”
Eligible citizens are automatically registered to vote, or their voter registration is updated, when they apply or renew their State ID or Driver’s License, unless they decline. Voter information is electronically transferred between licensing and election officials, resulting in a more efficient, secure and convenient process.
AVR is a step towards much needed modernization of elections in Hawaiʻi.
- Hawaiʻi implemented Online Voter Registration in 2015 and phased in same day registration in 2016. Hawai’i implemented voting by mail in 2020. Automatic Voter Registration is the logical next step.
- Hawai’i’s use of mail-in voting in 2020 dramatically increased voter turnout. Voter turnout from the 2018 primary (34.8%) increased 12.5% for the 2020 primary (51.1%). Comparatively, voter turnout increased 16.3% from the 2016 primary (34.8%) to the 2020 primary (51.1%). In the general, Hawaii had an increase of 16.9% in voter turnout rate over the 2018 general election (52.7%) and an 11.2% increase from the 2016 general election (58.4%) to the 2020 general election (69.6%). This was the BEST in the nation!
- Automatic Voter Registration is a natural extension of voting by mail. It will facilitate voting by mail. AVR would help update the voter rolls to ensure that ballots are mailed to people’s current, correct addresses. AVR would, additionally, ensure that the names of voters’ ballots match their identification for voter security.
- As of December 2019, AVR has been approved in 21 states and the District of Columbia.
- The data shows that AVR improves the likelihood that people will vote by minimizing bureaucracy and requiring less time and effort from eligible voters.
AVR will enhance the security of our elections.
- Recent court challenges surrounding local races highlight the need for greater security.
- Elections will be more secure due to the increased accuracy of voter rolls, and use of an encrypted system, rather than paper forms, to transfer data
- Automatic Voter Registration helps to make sure that all eligible voters in Hawaiʻi are registered to vote at their current address. This increases the security of our elections because we know that ballots are sent to the correct location and correct voter.
- Privacy and freedom are protected, as people may choose to opt-out.
Automatic Voter Registration will save us money.
- Traditional paper registration typically costs 30 times more than AVR. The cost of implementing AVR is outweighed by the long-term savings it will yield.
- Processing paper forms in Hawaiʻi during the 2018 election cycle cost nearly $661,000 for labor. This does not include the printing of voter registration forms, mailings related to duplicate registration entries, and the postage of forwarding registration forms to the proper recipient. It does not include more than 33,000 applications submitted during the 2016 election cycle that the state did not categorize when reporting the data.
- Up-to-date voter rolls will help reduce the cost of sending ballots to wrong addresses.
AVR improves access to voting for eligible voters in Hawaiʻi
- AVR helps ensure that voting isn’t needlessly difficult for working and military families who move frequently, as well as homebound seniors, students, and voters in rural areas
- AVR reduces unnecessary barriers to voting and time demands on people holding two jobs or who are juggling school, work and family.
How AVR Works
About AVR Hawaiʻi
AVR Hawaiʻi Leadership
Sandy Ma is the Campaign Manager for AVR Hawaii. She is also the Executive Director of Common Cause Hawaii. As the executive director, Sandy leads campaigns, fundraising, and engages local, state, and national organizations in building coalitions around Hawaii, focusing on ethics and accountability, money and influence, and voting and elections. Sandy comes to the AVR Hawaii campaign with a broad range of nonprofit, corporate, and government experience. She previously was an ACLU attorney in North Carolina and Hawaii. She was a private practice attorney for a number of years. She most recently worked with the Hawaii Office of Planning in the Coastal Zone Management Program, focusing on climate change, sea level rise, and coastal hazard issues. Sandy has a BA from Johns Hopkins University, a JD from the University of Maryland School of Law, and a LL.M in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School.