Registered voters not required to carry photo ID

Posted on October 23, 2014


With the general election less than two weeks away, we want to make sure voters understand their rights when they cast their ballots.

A precinct official may ask for a photo ID, but the bottom line is you do not need to provide one to vote.

According to HRS §11-136, “Every person shall provide identification if so requested by a precinct official.”

However, state law does not specify what type of identification is required.

Election officials say you may also show a utility bill, bank statement or government document to prove your identity.

“Most people in Hawaii tend to have some form of an ID,” said elections administrator Glenn Takahashi. “However, if they don’t have an ID, the election officials will go through additional means to make sure you are who you say you are.”

“Many people also don’t realize that the gutting of the Voting Rights Act and the nationwide movement to require voter ID at polling places are results of efforts pushed by the corporate-funded the American Legislative Exchange Council in order to suppress minority voters,” said Carmille Lim, Executive Director of Common Cause Hawaii. “In Hawaii, what often confuses people is the fact that some form of ID is required when one registers to vote for the first time, but not when one casts a ballot. ​​While a form of ID may expedite the verification process, the bottom line is that voting is a constitutional right, and in Hawaii, a voter can cast a ballot without presenting her or his ID.”

Under the federal Help America Vote Act of 2012, registered voters can cast a provisional ballot without any form of identification.

Officials say if they do catch someone who is voting multiple times, they will turn it over to the prosecutor’s office to investigate.

Read: How to vote at the polling place


§11-136 Poll book, identification, voting. Every person upon applying to vote shall sign the person’s name in the poll book prepared for that purpose. This requirement may be waived by the chairperson of the precinct officials if for reasons of illiteracy or blindness or other physical disability the voter is unable to write. Every person shall provide identification if so requested by a precinct official. A poll book shall not contain the social security number of any person.

After signing the poll book and receiving the voter’s ballot, the voter shall proceed to the voting booth to vote according to the voting system in use in the voter’s precinct. The precinct official may, and upon request shall, explain to the voter the mode of voting. [L 1970, c 26, pt of §2; am L 1973, c 217, §1(qq); gen ch 1985, 1993; am L 2003, c 23, §1]


Help America Vote Act (HAVA) Hawaii State Plan

Section 302 requires the establishment of provisional voting and the posting of voting information at polling places by January 1, 2004. Under this section, no waiver is permitted.

HAVA identifies voters who may vote using a provisional ballot. They are as follows: 1) a voter who declares that he or she is a registered voter in the jurisdiction in which that person decided to vote and is eligible to vote in an election for Federal office, but whose name does not appear on the official list of eligible voters at the polling place; and a voter who the election official assert is not eligible to vote; a voter who registered by mail and is a first-time voter in the jurisdiction who appears at the polling place without proper identification; and 2) a voter who votes in an election for federal office pursuant to a federal or state court order or any other order extending the time established for closing the polls.

Office: Common Cause Hawaii

Issues: Voting and Elections

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