2016 Accomplishments

Thanks to your support, Common Cause Hawaii was able to successfully advocate for good government reforms and reach more people than ever before. Continue reading for a summary of Common Cause Hawaii’s 2016 highlights and accomplishments.

Legislative Wins

  • Protected citizens’ privacy by requiring only the last four digits of one’s social security number, rather than their full number, to be used when registering to vote (HB1055)
  • Mobilized our supporters to encourage the legislature to once again urge Congress to overturn Citizens United (HCR29)

We were also successful in stopping bills that would have compromised our democracy. We are proud to have had a hand in stopping bills that:

  • protect private interests, instead of the public’s
  • aimed to cloud our sunshine laws, giving potential for lawmakers to deliberate on issues “off the record”
  • threatened fair and impartial courts
  • would have undermined the Ethics Commission by exempting state employees from portions of the state ethics laws.

For a full legislative recap, and specific bill information click here.

Events in the Community

  • Public House was a panel discussion series that mingled politics and humor in a “pau hana” atmosphere. Special guest panelists and video clips highlighted issues that Hawaii is facing today. The public was encouraged to join the conversation and share their opinions. Issues discussed include: the State Legislature, education, mental health and the homeless, the new economy, and urban development. Click here for event recaps and photos. April Public House Panelists
    Photo (L to R): Common Cause Hawaii Executive Director Carmille Lim, Sara Cobble, Tabatha Chow, and Spencer Toyama at the April Public House

  • Dining for Democracy Fundraiser - Guests enjoyed a 4 course menu prepared by the award-winning chefs of The Pig and The Lady while listening to keynote speaker Ian Lind, investigative blogger and former Common Cause Hawaii director, who spoke to the evolution of ethics, lobbying, and citizen engagement in Hawaii.

Click here for a full list of list of Common Cause Hawaii events and community presentations.


Stopping Honolulu Charter Amendment #19. The Honolulu Charter Commission is an appointed board which meets every ten years to study and review City government operations in the City Charter, the "Constitution" of the City and County of Honolulu. After months of meetings and hearings, the Commission approved 20 proposals that were on the general election ballot. If approved, Amendment #19 would have eliminated a provision in the Charter that helps to ensure bi-partisanship when redistricting at the county level. Thanks to an awareness campaign, and members educating their networks about the dangers of approving the amendment, 56% to 30% of voters said “No” to Amendment #19. It was one of only 4 amendments rejected by the voters.

checkmark thumbnailSaving our Partial Public Financing Program. Common Cause Hawaii once again partnered with the Hawaii State Campaign Spending Commission (CSC) to increase public awareness and understanding about the Hawaii Elections Campaign Fund (HECF) and to increase contributions to the fund. Without an increase in contributions, current projections show the HECF in danger of being depleted by 2019. The HECF was established to fund the Partial Public Financing Program in Hawaii. In addition, the HECF is also used to support the Campaign Spending Commission and their work monitoring and enforcing campaign finance laws. The HECF is funded by Hawaii taxpayers who select the “yes” option on their state tax return, which allocates $3 from the general fund to the HECF. Thanks to your support contributions to the fund have increased, but the fund is still far from replenished. Don’t forget to mark “yes” on your 2016 tax return.


Our focus for the 2016 election was to ensure that our elections ran smoothly and that voters had the access to the information they needed when casting their ballot.

  • Power Ballot. Back by popular demand, Common Cause Hawaii teamed up with local developers to create a website that allowed voters to easily find information, candidates, and ballot initiatives. The “Power Ballot” is a complete list of candidates and issues that appeared on the general election ballot. It contained links to candidate bios, interviews, campaign data, resources and helpful information on proposed amendments and issues.
  • Who Will Fight Big Money? Voters deserve to know where candidates stand on democracy reform issues such as reducing barriers to voting, restoring the Voting Rights Act, etc. The Common Cause Hawaii Team, including volunteers, staff, and interns, reached out to all candidates running to represent Hawaii in Congress during both the Primary and General Elections to get them on record.
  • Election Day Volunteers Over 2 dozen Common Cause members and supporters volunteered their time and energy to help ensure our elections ran smoothly. We helped the Office of Elections recruit precinct workers and Control Center Operators, assisting hundreds of citizens to cast their ballots and make their voices heard. Control Center Volunteers
    Photo (L to R): Randall Imada, Corie Tanida, Liam Tobin, Jamila Coronado, Garrett Thompson, Melinda Wood, and David "Tavita" Bohn at the Office of Elections' Control Center on Election Day.

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