Reforming and improving the way we conduct campaigns and elections, will allow us to reinvigorate our democracy and thus pave the way to changing public policy for the better, at all levels. These reforms include campaign finance reform, public financing of elections, all mail-in ballots, rank choice voting, automatic voter registration and others.
During the upcoming 2019 legislative session the citizens of Hawaii will have the opportunity to support Automatic Voter Registration (AVR). I encourage all to put this on your “legislative radar”. Please share this information with your friends and neighbors and testify in support as hearings are held in the future.
What is Automatic Voter Registration (AVR)?
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, convenient process that saves money.
AVR is a step towards much needed modernization of elections in Hawaii.
- Hawaii is using out-of-date systems and decades-old technology. It’s time to modernize.
- Hawaii, implemented Online Voter Registration in 2015 and phased in same day registration starting in 2016. Automatic Voter Registration is the logical next step.
- Hawaii has had the lowest voter turnout in the country for the last 20 years. This will help turn that around by increasing convenience and improving access to voting.
- As of December 2018, AVR has been approved in 17 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 to transfer data rather than paper forms
- Automatic Voter Registration helps to make sure that all eligible voters in Hawaii are registered to vote at their current address. This increases the security of our elections because we know that ballots are sent it 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 are outweighed by the long-term savings it will yield.
- Processing paper forms in Hawaii during the 2016 election cycle cost nearly $575,000 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 Hawaii
- 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.