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Articles of Interest

Honolulu Civil Beat - September 13, 2021 - Our Democracy Starts With Redistricting

Something major is happening in Hawaii and across the nation right now — reapportionment and redistricting. Reapportionment and redistricting only happen once every 10 years, and it impacts our future for the next decade — everything from who will run for office, if we will be able to elect representatives of our choice, to fair funding for schools, hospitals, roads and more that affect our communities.

Based on the 2020 census apportionment count, Hawaii will maintain its two House seats. And redistricting is happening now. The reason district lines must be redrawn every decade is because the U.S. Constitution requires that political districts of the same type (congressional, state house, state senate, etc.) have the same number of people. With people relocating, each elected official should represent the same number of people.

This is an excerpt from this Civil Beat Article written by Sandy Ma, Executive Director of Common Cause Hawaii.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - July 07, 2021 - Letter to the Editor - For the People Act sets voting baseline

The continent is awash in voter suppression legislation. Money is flooding our elections and drowning out the people’s voice. Even in Hawaii, we are not immune from the corrosive effects of dark money on our politics: The Legislature recently overrode the veto of Senate Bill 404 (relating to electioneering communications), which will reduce transparency in our local elections.

This leads to the need for H.R.1, the For The People Act, contrary to Curtis Wheeler’s letter (“For the People Act needs vigorous debate,” Star-Advertiser, July 8).

A baseline must be set for voting rights, which H.R.1 will do, ensuring that all eligible citizens nationwide may participate in our democracy.

Further, our elected officials should be focused on the needs of everyday people, not just wealthy special interests. H.R.1 creates a small-donor citizen-funded elections program to amplify the voices of everyday people, so candidates focus on our priorities, instead of spending time raising money from major donors and wealthy special interests.

We all deserve these freedoms and accountable leaders.

Sandy Ma, Executive director, Common Cause Hawaii

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - July 07, 2021 - Column: Supreme Court guts Voting Rights Act

Just three days before this July Fourth, I had tears in my eyes when I heard that our U.S. Supreme Court justices, in analyzing two Arizona voter restrictions in Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, continued voter suppression against Blacks and other minorities.
Barriers to voting — they have existed since we became a country. Only the white man with property was given the right to vote when our country was founded. These barriers were seen until 1965 for Blacks, especially in the Deep South and Texas in the forms of terroristic threatening, beatings, water hosing, dog attacks, burning churches and homes, lynchings and death.

In Hawaii we have a different story, fortunately. Our state has a strong history of adopting pro-voting reforms and is now a “beacon of light for other states ... during this time of assault on the very foundations of our democracy,” noted Sandy Ma, executive director of Common Cause Hawaii, in a March commentary. On June 28, Act 126 became law, when Gov. David Ige signed Senate Bill 159. Ensuring our access to the ballot, Hawaii now has automatic voter registration, requiring any person who is eligible to vote and applies for a driver’s license or identification card to be automatically registered to vote unless the applicant affirmatively declines.

West Hawaii Today - May 27, 2021 - Letter to the Editor - Governor Ige needs to sign AVR bill

The ideals of our democracy were attacked on Jan. 6, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol. As a fourth-generation Japanese-American citizen born and raised in Hawaii, I never imagined in my wildest dreams that our democracy could be so fragile or that our country would be so divided.

People elect legislators and governors who have the power to pass or kill voter registration bills. The people of Hawaii have the power to modernize our elections by urging Gov. David Ige to sign the Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) Senate Bill 159 into law. AVR removes barriers to register to vote, updates our voter rolls and ensures compliance with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and Help America Vote Act of 2002.

Please email david.y.ige@hawaii.gov or call (808) 586-0034 to ask that SB159 be signed into law through a bill signing ceremony before June 21.

This letter to the editor was written and submitted by Caroline Kunitake, Common Cause Hawaii's Program and Engagement Manager

Honolulu Civil Beat - April 21, 2021 - Automatic Voter Registration Bill Nears Final Approval

Senate Bill 159, which makes an application for voter registration part of all state identification card or driver’s license applications, was passed out of conference committee. It now awaits a final vote from the full House and Senate. If passed, it should make it easier than ever to register to vote in Hawaii.

“It is a long time in coming, and we thank Chair Luke and Sens. Karl Rhoads and Chris Lee for being such amazing champions of AVR and making sure people have the right to register through the DMV,” said Sandy Ma, executive director of Common Cause Hawaii. “Without Chair Luke’s approval, we could not have gotten this done.”

Hawaii Tribune-Herald - April 12, 2021 - Automatic voter registration bill nears passage

Hawaii is one step closer to joining a growing number of states enacting automatic voter registration.

Senate Bill 159 would make voter registration part of the application process for a driver’s license or identification card. The measure was passed by the state House on Friday, with only one vote — Rep. Bob McDermott (R-Oahu) — in opposition. The bill now returns to the Senate and will likely head to conference committee to resolve differences between the House and Senate amendments.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - Apri 11, 2021 - Column: Getting young Micronesians to vote in Hawaii

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz’s recent announcement that $1 million in federal CARES Act money has been allocated to address the needs of Pacific
Islanders who have been hard hit by COVID-19 is welcome news. The state Department of Health tells us that while Pacific Islanders comprise
just 4% of the population here, they make up 31% of hospitalizations for COVID-19. What is obscured in this data is the especially hard hit taken by the Micronesian community, especially the Chukkese and the Marshallese. They are just not at the table when policies are made that affect their wellbeing.

That is why I am so encouraged by the increased civic engagement I see among our Micronesian youth, and why I believe passing automatic voter registration will help improve access to the ballot for Micronesian voices so that the opportunity is present for them to be heard at the highest levels of policymaking and government.

By Josh Howard, Exec Director of We Are Oceania.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - March 30, 2021 - Column: Automatic voter registration: Poll worker knows it’s a winner

Hawaii’s automatic voter registration (AVR) bill has one more hurdle to pass: It needs to be heard by the Finance Committee chaired by Rep. Sylvia Luke. We hope she will schedule a hearing for it. The revised version of the bill now provides for eligible persons to opt-in for automatic voter registration when they apply for or update their Hawaii driver’s license or state ID. Because it is optional, it allows for doing two important things at once, a benefit to all voters.

As a volunteer election worker, I saw firsthand how AVR could alleviate some problems both voters and election volunteers face.

(This column was written by Rosemary Casey, a returned Peace Corps Volunteer, who lives in Honolulu and has volunteered for Catholic Charities Hawaii. Click on the link to read about her experiences with the 2020 election in Hawaii)

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - March 19, 2021 - Hawaii moves to allow campaign funds to be used for child care

Hawaii lawmakers are considering making it legal for candidates running for political office to tap their campaign donations to cover child care costs. Senate Bill 597, which has sailed through the Senate and passed the House of Representatives’ Government Reform Committee on Wednesday, is part of a growing national movement to make it easier for parents of young children, and women in particular, to run for office.

“We don’t think that people who have young dependent children or dependent family members should have a harder time campaigning and running for office and we think this bill will level the playing field,” said Sandy Ma, executive director of Common Cause Hawaii, which advocates for open and transparent government. She told lawmakers that the bill would help create elected bodies that are more representative of their constituents.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - March 10, 2021 - Column: Why not automatic voter registration?

An Editorial: Island Voices article written by Piilani Kaopuiki, President of the League of Women Voters of Hawaii, the article dispels myths about AVR and enumerates its many benefits for Hawaiians and our democracy.

Ms Kaiapuki sums up by saying, "Let’s pass this simple bill that doesn’t require an appropriation. Then we can all enjoy the convenience of automatic voter registration and efficient voter roll maintenance."

Honolulu Star Advertiser - March 07, 2021 - Editiorial: On Politics: Amid voterrestriction moves elsewhere, automatic voter registration here worth support

Registering to vote, step one in a simple act of good citizenship, is now part of the battleground that is the Democrat-Republican national split. Hawaii has joined the fight.If approved by the state Legislature and Gov. David Ige, Hawaii would become the 21st state to approve automatic voter registration (AVR). It would include voter registration automatically in the documents you sign when you first apply for a Hawaii driver’s license. Applicants would have to provide evidence that they are who they say they are, just as they do now, but would also have to say they are eligible to vote and would then be automatically registered to vote if 18 or older. Applicants would have to actively say they didn’t want to register to vote in order to opt out.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - February 25, 2021 - Hawaii Senate committee passes automatic voter registration

A bill advanced Tuesday by the Hawaii Senate Judiciary Committee would automatically register to vote eligible U.S. citizens who apply for a driver’s license or state identification card, unless the individual declines to be registered. The seven members of the committee unanimously passed the legislation, which heads to the full Senate for consideration.

Sandy Ma, executive director of Common Cause Hawaii, a good government group, said the measure would make voter registration rolls more accurate and secure by keeping them updated. It would increase the number of ballots mailed to people’s current, correct addresses and well as ensure the names on people’s ballots would match the names on their identification.

West Hawaii Today - February 23, 2021 - State Senate committee passes automatic voter registration

A bill advanced Tuesday by the state Senate Judiciary Committee would automatically register to vote eligible U.S. citizens who apply for a driver’s license or state identification card, unless the individual declines to be registered.

Hawaii would be the latest state to adopt automatic voter registration if the measure becomes law. The National Conference of State Legislatures said 20 other states and the District of Columbia had already enacted similar laws as of January. Oregon was the first to do so, in 2016.

Sandy Ma, executive director of Common Cause Hawaii, a good government group, said the measure would make voter registration rolls more accurate and secure by keeping them updated. It would increase the number of ballots mailed to people’s current, correct addresses and well as ensure the names on people’s ballots would match the names on their identification.

In addition, Ma said the measure would decrease the number of people who would need to go to in-person voter service centers to register to vote during elections, thus shortening wait times at the facilities.

AP News - February 24, 2021 - Hawaii Senate committee passes automatic voter registration

A bill advanced by the Hawaii Senate Judiciary Committee would automatically register to vote eligible U.S. citizens who apply for a driver’s license or state identification card, unless the individual declines to be registered.

The State Office of Elections submitted testimony supporting the bill, saying it would increase access to voter registration and help ensure the accuracy of voter registration rolls.

Sandy Ma, executive director of Common Cause Hawaii, a good government group, said the measure would make voter registration rolls more accurate and secure by keeping them updated. It would increase the number of ballots mailed to people’s current, correct addresses and well as ensure the names on people’s ballots would match the names on their identification.

KHON, the Hawaii News Channel, cited this AP news account on their February 24 news broadcast. You can see a summary of their reporting by clicking on Button 2.

The Hill - February 24, 2021 - Hawaii advances automatic voter registration bill

A state Senate panel in Hawaii has unanimously passed a bill that would allow for automatic voter registration.

The bill would let those eligible to vote automatically be registered when they apply for a driver’s license or state identification card, The Associated Press reported. In Hawaii, voter registration information would have to be filled out before submitting a state identification card application and the information would be sent to election officials. The legislation has received support from many as it could cut wait times in voter service centers and allow more people to participate in elections.

The bill will be presented to the full Senate and needs to be voted on to move forward to the governor’s office.

Hawaii News Now - February 24, 2021 - Hawaii Senate committee passes automatic voter registration

A bill advanced Tuesday by the Hawaii Senate Judiciary Committee would automatically register to vote eligible U.S. citizens who apply for a driver’s license or state identification card, unless the individual declines to be registered.
Hawaii would be the latest state to adopt automatic voter registration if the measure becomes law. The National Conference of State Legislatures said 20 other states and the District of Columbia had already enacted similar laws as of January. Oregon was the first to do so, in 2016. The Hawaii bill says officials would not process applications for an identification card or driver’s license until an applicant fills in a section related to voter registration. Officials would automatically send an applicant’s information to election officials unless the applicant specifically indicates he or she does not want to be registered to vote.

Sandy Ma, executive director of Common Cause Hawaii, a good government group, said the measure would make voter registration rolls more accurate and secure by keeping them updated. It would increase the number of ballots mailed to people’s current, correct addresses and well as ensure the names on people’s ballots would match the names on their identification.

Honolulu Civil Beat - February 12, 2121 - More In-Person Voting Sites Proposed For Hawaii

Lawmakers want to tweak the elections law in an effort to head off long lines for voters like those seen during the Nov. 3 general election. Senate Bill 548 — which would allow the counties to establish more voter service centers — won approval in a key Senate committee Wednesday and is now teed up for a vote by the full Senate.

The bill requires the counties to open more in-person voting sites on Election Day. Oahu must open three additional sites, with one on the Windward side, while the neighbor islands must open one additional center each.

The ratio for how many voters will be serviced by in-person voting options is also of interest to Common Cause Hawaii, which for more than a year prior to the Nov. 3 election advocated for more voting sites and drop boxes.

Honolulu Civil Beat - Commentary Chad Blair: Advocates Again Pushing For Automatic Voter Registration

Past proposals have perished at the Hawaii Legislature, but the success of mail-in voting suggests a favorable sea change.

SB 2005 was supported by good-government advocacy groups such as Common Cause Hawaii, the Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice and the League of Women Voters. It was also backed by the state Office of Elections and county clerks.

But then along came the pandemic. Now, there is a push to get similar legislation approved in the 2021 session.

“We have been talking to lawmakers and, generally, there is a sense of support for AVR,” says Sandy Ma, executive director of Common Cause Hawaii. “It will save money and time and help make elections more secure. It’s long past time to do this.”

Hawaii Public Radio website: Article on the Vote by Mail Info Brief to State Legislators

No More Hawaii Polling Places, Mainly Mail Ballots Next Year. What Could Go Wrong?

Honolulu Civil Beat - Elections Officials Want To Tweak Hawaii’s Mail-Voting Law Next Year

Hawaii Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago plans to ask the Legislature for changes to Hawaii’s mail voting system that could make it easier for officials to open more in-person voting sites and give voters more time to fill in their ballots. Despite calls from good government and voting rights groups, officials stuck with just eight centers all the way through Election Day, citing that state law requiring uniform times as one impediment to opening more. Sandy Ma, the executive director of Common Cause Hawaii, is also planning to push for changes to mail voting as well as try to convince lawmakers to expand automatic voter registration.

AP News - Long wait for Hawaii vote spurs call for more voter centers

Voter advocates say Hawaii should set up more voter service centers after a last-minute surge of interest led to hours-long lines for in-person voting on Election Day even as the state switched to a vote-by-mail system for casting ballots.

Sandy Ma, the executive director of Common Cause Hawaii, a nonpartisan organization that advocates for good government, said she has been calling for more of these centers ever since she learned last year there would only be eight spread around the state. She said Common Cause supports vote-by-mail because it improves voter turnout and allows voters to study their electoral choices in the comfort of their homes. Yet she said some people need in-person voting. Students and homeless individuals, for example, move a lot and may not get their ballot in the mail. Or people may need language translation or help reading their ballot. Ma said people waited between two to four hours on Tuesday at the two voter centers on Oahu, an island with about 549,000 registered voters. Common Cause volunteers reported lines lasting one to two hours on Maui Island and in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island.

Hawaii News Now - What worked, what didn’t: Election officials discuss improvements for next election

Election officials said they are reviewing how election-day went after more than 4,500 showed-up for in-person voting at a limited number of voting service cneters on election day.

Common Cause Hawaii, a non-profit organization supporting democracy and other processes such as voting, said they warned election officials that eight voter service centers throughout the state would not be enough on election day. “We saw this coming,” said Sandy Ma, the executive director of Common Cause Hawaii. “We nearly filed a lawsuit in August over the vote by mail process and needing more voter service centers. But our warnings were not headed. And it’s unfortunate.”

KHON News - Near midnight wait leads to call for more voting centers by 2022

Long lines at two Oahu voter service centers made it a long night for voters waiting in line for hours to cast their ballots and those eager to hear the results.

Though the small amount of voter service centers on the neighbor islands seemed to work well, on Oahu, people were still in line at Honolulu Hale until 10:30 p.m. and Kapolei Hale until nearly 11:30 p.m.

“Some people have to go vote in-person at a voter service center, and just having two for an island population of 1,000,000 did create problems,” SandyMa, Common Cause Hawaii's Executive Director, said. “We’re going to go back again during the 2021 legislative session next year and ask for more fixes to the vote-by-mail law. We want more voter service centers, a minimum level. We want more drop boxes throughout the state.”

Hawaii Public Radio - The Conversation: Fixing Hawaii's Long Voter Lines

Concerns about long voting lines! Four hour waits to vote? County election officials were caught flatfooted with a last minute surge on some Islands. Common Cause warned of this scenario and even considered legal action over it. Executive Director Sandy Ma tells us what their volunteers saw on the ground. The state's Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago plans to meet with county clerks to find out what it can do to avoid the late crowds, which delayed the counting of the returns. City and County of Honolulu Clerk Glen Takahashi tells us what went wrong.

Honolulu Civil Beat - ‘Distrust,’ Enthusiasm And A Hawaii Law Fueled Long Lines On Election Day

Calls for more voter centers were unheeded in the past year.

Thousands of Hawaii voters waited for hours in lines outside of Hawaii’s eight voter centers Tuesday night, a situation that election officials have promised to remedy but one that citizen groups have been warning against for months.

The debate over whether Hawaii had enough voter service centers has been playing out over the past year between groups like Common Cause Hawaii and election officials.

“There were seeds sown of distrust,” said Sandy Ma, citing concerns with the postal system cuts that were floated earlier this year. “So it was foreseeable that people wanted to vote in person. There should have been more in-person places opened up.”

Ma, executive director of Common Cause Hawaii, has been trying to get officials statewide to open more voter centers. The state got federal relief funds for elections, most of which had been spent on rent for larger counting centers.

The Maui News - Voting officials surprised by large Maui precinct turnout

County officials and volunteers were surprised with the large turnout of in-person voters on Election Day. James Krueger, deputy county clerk, said volunteers helped more people on Election Day than they did during the entire 10-day voting period for the primaries.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser OpEd - More voters, more voting centers

One of the questions the state Office of Elections and other voting officials has to answer is this: Why did so many people in a vote-by-mail state show up at the few Voter Service Centers on Election Day instead?
The throngs at Honolulu Hale and Kapolei Hale kept everyone waiting until late Tuesday night for voting to finish and the first results to be released. It exposed a lot of people to coronavirus infection risk, too.

One pledge many would like to hear: More voting centers will be open next time.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - Letter to the Editor: Next time, provide more voter service centers

The long lines to vote on Election Day (four hours at Kapolei and Honolulu Hale) could have been avoided if state and city officials had listened to Common Cause Hawaii and provided more voter service centers.

Two locations for 400,000 Oahu voters is ridiculous.

Larry Meecham, Wahiawa, Common Cause Hawaii Board Member

The Maui News - Democratic incumbents appear poised for victory

Democratic state lawmakers from Maui County cruised to comfortable leads in the first round of results, which were released hours later than expected after a rush of last-minute, in-person voting on Maui and across the state.

Candidates and voters alike waited late into the night for the first round of results after lines piled up at voter service centers in Maui County and across the state.

Wildberger said that Sandy Ma of Common Cause Hawaii, a government watchdog group, “called this in the spring” when she asked for more voter service centers. Honolulu and Hawaii counties each have two, while Kauai has one and Maui County has one each on Maui, Molokai and Lanai.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser Column: In these frightening times, reclaim your power by voting

The world, the nation and Hawaii are currently struggling through deeply troubling and dangerous times.

People are anxious, unsettled and worried. We are frightened for our health, the safety of our families and our loved ones, due to COVID-19. We do not know if we will continue to be employed, given the enormous economic devastation the coronavirus is wreaking on Hawaii, and whether we will be able to provide food and shelter for ourselves and those who depend on us.

We are no longer in charge of our lives or masters of our own fate. We depend, now more than ever, on elected officials to provide guidance on when it is safe to go places, which places are safe to go to — essentially how to survive.

Unfortunately, the leadership from both the national and local governments have left something to be desired. There are over 200,000 Americans dead of COVID-19 and counting. And, Oahu just exited its second shutdown after Hawaii was initially hailed as a model for controlling coronavirus infections.

While it may feel as if we have no control and our lives are being dictated by outside agents, this is simply untrue. Now is the time and the season to speak out through the power of our vote. With a single cast ballot, it is a roar of our needs.

With Hawaii’s vote-by-mail system, ballots are being mailed to all registered voters on Oahu Monday and today, all registered voters on Hawaii County on Wednesday, all registered voters on Maui County on Thursday, and all registered voters on Kauai County on Friday. Do not let this opportunity pass to make your needs heard.

Your one vote absolutely matters. It matters because it is your right to be heard, and you deserve to be and will be heard. Your voice is just as important as anyone else’s on who should represent you and your needs in elected office. Your one vote can decide close races, especially in Hawaii, where many of our races are decided by razor thin margins. In truth, if you do not vote, then we end up with a government that does not represent all of us but just the select few of us, and our democracy of We The People will slowly perish.
When you receive your ballot package, please vote. You will have the opportunity to study at home the candidates and county charter amendments. Return your voted ballot by U.S. Postal Service no later than Oct. 27, and the postage is even prepaid.

After Oct. 27, please return your ballot to a voter service center or drop box located in your county. See the first link below for Dropbox locations.

Ballots must be received by 7 p.m. Nov. 3 to count.
You are able to track the status of your ballot and can even download a virtual “I Voted” sticker at the second link below.

It is time to reclaim your power and find shelter from the storm through the vote.

Rise up and vote.

This editorial was written by Sandy Ma, Executive Director of Common Cause Hawaii, a nonpartisan organization focused on creating an open, honest and accountable government.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser Editorial - Mail-in voting put to the test

In Hawaii voters will be making key decisions in the Aug. 8 primary election - in many contests and at every level except the governor’s office and the U.S. Senate. These local races have the potential to bring new faces to municipal and state government, and likely will return a lot of the old hands, too. This is a chance to uncover the potential and the pitfalls of the state’s new all-mail-voting system.

There are no neighborhood polling stations where, at the last minute, you can run in and vote on Election Day. There are voter service center but they are few and far between.

Honolulu Civil Beat - Hawaii’s Homeless Voters Face Hurdles With All-Mail System

This year, as Hawaii rolled out its first all-mail election, Hawaii's homeless community is faced with some challenges.

Sweeps, ID laws, mail access and transportation all have become barriers to homeless individuals casting their ballots and have hampered the ability of service providers who help them. Those issues have all been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic as well as the recent threat of Hurricane Douglas.

With regular sweeps of homeless encampments, it’s hard to tell what district someone should be registered in. Darcy said it’s also been a challenge tracking down individuals who move often.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - Provide language aid for Hawaii voters, groups demand

Three nonprofits are calling on the state attorney general and election officials to provide translated ballots and voting materials to non-English and Hawaiian language speakers.
The letter, sent Tuesday, was signed by Maui Attorney Lance Collins on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Unions of Hawaii Foundation, Common Cause Hawaii and the Hawaii Institute for Philippine Studies. Collins noted that state law requires Hawaii agencies provide documents in languages other than English.

Honolulu Civil Beat - Why Does Hawaii Have Such Low Voter Turnout? Here’s What The Data Says

By now, Hawaii voters should have received their ballots in the mail.

If the 2018 voter turnout data is any indication, more than 60% of those ballots may end up in the garbage.

It’s no secret that voter turnout is abysmal in Hawaii — it’s a well-documented issue, both by local and national media, with many scholars and analysts taking stabs at trying to explain why that is.

“It’s quite sad, really,” said Sandy Ma, executive director of Common Cause Hawaii, a grassroots organization that works to boost public participation in government.

There are a lot of theories about the severe lack of engagement, she said, including the high cost of living and the dominant one-party system in the state.

The Maui News - Groups call for better access for rural and displaced voters

Nonprofit and civil rights groups are calling for more voter service centers in Maui County to help registered voters who live in remote areas or are homeless and lack traditional mail services.

Attorneys for these groups have said in separate letters to local election officials over the past week that three voter service centers — one each on Maui, Molokai and Lanai — will not be sufficient to serve more vulnerable voters during the state’s first mail-in only election

Honolulu Civil Beat - Getting A Ballot In The Mail For Your Dead Relative Is Not As Weird As It Seems

Elections officials are reluctant to purge voter rolls. But cases of people actually voting on someone else’s behalf almost never happen.

“Voter fraud is so exceedingly rare,” said Sandy Ma, executive director of the government watchdog group Common Cause Hawaii.

Honolulu Civil Beat - Is Hawaii Ready To Vote By Mail?

Hawaii’s first all-mail election will be spared from many of the growing pains that other states experienced as they blazed the trail years ago to conduct elections by mail as a way to boost voter turnout and save taxpayers money.

Good-government groups like Common Cause and the League of Women Voters as well as concerned citizens are already raising concerns over mail access, transportation and accessibility for disabled individuals as roadblocks to voter access — especially for those in rural communities who have historically seen low voting rates.

The Hawaii Herald - Hawaii Transitions to Vote-by-Mail

The article describes the transition to Vote-by-Mail and all it entails and the importance for Hawaii to show the country how well the concept can work. It cites Common Cause Hawaii's Sandy Ma's efforts in advocating for this new voting process.

Honolulu Civil Beat - This New PAC Is Attacking Mayoral Candidate Keith Amemiya

A new political action committee has launched a negative campaign against mayoral candidate Keith Amemiya just days before Oahu voters receive their primary election ballots in the mail. They're pouring almost $17,000 in this effort, spreading disparaging messages, including false information, about Amemiya.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser Letter to the Editor: Too few voter centers to cause election problems; Tear down 'blue wall of silence'; Concerns about mail-in voter fraud

Written by Larry Meecham, Common Cause Hawaii Board Member, the letter expresses concerns about the small number of Voter Service Centers in Hawaii for the Primary and General elections coming up.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser OpEd - There are too few Voter Service Centers!

Just eight Voter Service Centers are planned for our Hawaii elections - the Primary and the General. We urgently need more of these for Hawaii's debut of Voting by Mail!

Honolulu Star-Advertiser Editorial: Get Ready for Hawaii's Inaugural VBM election!

A big change coming: you will vote from home in the August Primary. Later this month, election officials will mail out ballots for the August statewide primary election.
If you are a registered voter, the state will send you the official ballot to be filled out and mailed back before the Aug. 8 election. Common Cause Hawaii thinks this will be a dramatic improvement.

Honolulu Civil Beat - Will We Have A Democracy After COVID-19?

It seems like a lifetime ago that we had the opportunity to testify in support of Senate Bill 2005 which would introduce automatic voter registration to Hawaii. Now we meet for classes on Zoom and wonder what life will be like when we emerge from this pandemic.

Our elected leaders are apparently meeting without the need to hear our voices since the Sunshine Laws have been suspended. We will not be able to hold them accountable for the decisions they take behind closed doors.

Common Cause Hawaii has strongly advocated for the passing of Senate Bill 2005, allowing for Automatic Voter Registration in the state.

The Maui News: Ballots by mail: One less barrier to participation

Officials hope shift to mail-in ballots will bring in more voters to process. Election officials and political observers believe Hawaii’s new system of voting by mail will open the door to more voters — particularly the young and centrists — though the long-term effects on turnout and savings may not be clear until future elections.

KITV Island News: Education, security among concerns as Hawaii prepares for first all-mail election

While having an election entirely conducted by mail may be efficient, some political observers say the state has the tough task of explaining the process to voters.

Vote By Mail and Voter Service Centers Public Service Announcement Made by WAVE Youths in the Hawaii Kids Can Organization

This PSA was shot by the amazing, awesome, terrific WAVE Youths from the Hawaii Kids Can organization. The local Hawaii TV Station, Olelo, said, “The PSA has been submitted for airing on Olelo. It will air at random between our regularly scheduled programs.”

YouTube: Olelo Public Service Announcement on Hawaii Youth and Voting By Mail

This Common Cause Hawaii PSA made by our Hawaii Kids Can WAVE Youth about Vote By Mail! It is will be on Olelo’s OCM and its YouTube Channel!

Honolulu Star-Advertiser: Column: Time for Hawaiians to stop being nonvoters, and to be heard

A 12 December 2019 OpEd calling for Hawaii's Native Hawaiian community to vote and pointing out that it will be made easier with Vote by Mail in 2020. It also advocates for automatic voter registration. This OpEd was written by noted Native Hawaiian activist Walter Ritte.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser: Kokua Line: Voter’s signature visible on ballot-return envelope

The Kokua Line addresses, via a question and answer article, keeping a person’s signature secure on the vote by mail ballot.

Have you ever voted via mail-in ballot in a statewide election?

This is an on-line poll where the newspaper questions who has voted by mail. Both the results and the questions are very interesting!

Honolulu Star-Advertiser: Editorial: Prepare voters for all-mail balloting

Hawaii leaders have been talking for years about the state’s transition to an all-voting-by-mail election system. This article contains an interview about this issue with Sandy Ma, the Executive Director of Common Cause Hawaii.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser: Government group raises alarm as state moves to all-mail voting

Common Cause Hawaii is urging election officials to open more than a handful of Voter Service Centers in Hawaii next year to ensure that all voters are able to vote in-person as the State for the first time transitions to all Vote By Mail.

Hawaii Business Magazine: Government and Civic Engagement in Hawai‘i Need to Change

Part 2: How to Increase Hawai‘i’s Low Voter Turnout

There’s no silver bullet: Action is likely needed on several fronts to get more people to the polls though skeptics say some efforts may have little or no effect.

Hawaii's Olelo TV Network: Video of Vote by Mail Info Brief presented to Hawaii State Legislators

This is a video of the 13 November 2019 Informational Briefing on the Vote by Mail initiative, presented to the Hawaii State Senate and House Judiciary Committees on 13 November 2019

Generations Magazine - Hawaii's Resource for Life: All Vote-By-Mail Comes to Hawaii - by Sandy Ma, Executive Director, Common Cause Hawaii

Starting with the 2020 primaries, all statewide elections in Hawai‘i will be conducted by mail, pursuant to Act 136, Session Laws of Hawai‘i 2019 (HB1248, CD1). This will be a big change for some Hawai‘i voters, especially those who are not accustomed to voting by absentee ballot.

Hawaii Tribune-Herald - Commission sees election success in all-mail balloting

The election, the state’s first all-mail balloting, was generally regarded as a success, especially the primary. Ballots seemed to be mailed out in a timely manner and voters had several choices of returning their completed ballots, including postage-paid return mail, drop boxes and voter service centers.

“We do want to congratulate county election offices and state election officials for a smooth mail-in voting process during a pandemic,” Sandy Ma, executive director of Common Cause Hawaii, told the commission.

Sandy Ma added that she hopes government can provide more voter drop boxes and more voter service centers for the next election.

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