Take Action

Get Common Cause Updates

Get breaking news and updates from Common Cause.

Our Campaigns

Get involved in pro-democracy campaigns in Hawaii


Learn how you can do more to strengthen democracy.

Support Our Movement

Make a contribution to support Common Cause today.

Find Your State

News Clips

  • Filter by Issue

  • Filter by Campaign


Community Voice - Remote Testimony Worked Well This Session. Now Let's Make It Even Better

The 2021 Hawaii legislative session was momentous and not just for the issues addressed (or left unaddressed). It was conducted entirely remotely for the first time, given that the Capitol was closed to the public due to COVID-19. For years, advocates have supported remote public testimony. This would seem reasonable and necessary, given our island state and with the Capitol located on Oahu. Hawaii and Maui county councils have had a hybrid system, allowing both in-person and remote testimony at satellite locations. Given the logistical scramble to hold the entire 2021 legislative session remotely, the Legislature and its administrative team are to be applauded for the overall conduct of the remote 2021 session. It was a learning experience for all — from legislators to advocates — and mostly a positive one. The authors are Sandy Ma, Common Cause Hawaii's Executive Director and Younghee Overly, Chair of AAUW's Hawaii Public Policy Committee. Click on the link below to read the entire article.


April 29, 2021. Common Cause Hawaii's Executive Director, Sandy Ma, appeared on ThinkTech Hawaii, hosted by Jay Fidell.

Sandy Ma's appearance on ThinkTech had her talking about  Common Cause Hawaii legislative efforts on voting and ethics in Hawaii. The video of the show was streamed live and has been uploaded to YouTube. You can view the entire interview by clicking on the link below.


Honolulu Star-Advertiser Letter to the Editor - March 18, 2021 - AVR won't expose voters' private data

There has been misleading messaging trying to scare Hawaii about automatic voter registration (AVR), but we know better. Some people, including elected officials, are saying that AVR will let voters’ private data become public. This is just plain false. Hawaii has a longstanding law in place specifically to protect people’s voter registration data — Hawaii Revised Statutes § 11-97 — and the current AVR bill moving in the Legislature, Senate Bill 159, SD1, will not change that. A county clerk may not disclose voter registration information if it compromises the privacy of voters or interferes with the operations of elections, according to Hawaii Administrative Rules § 3-177-160(c). Don’t let scare tactics prevent Hawaii from advancing voter security and easing barrier to voter registration. Hawaii is better than that! This letter was submitted by Sandy Ma, Common Cause Hawaii's Executive Director.


Hawaii Public Radio The Conversation - March 10, 2021: Will Hawaii Adopt Automatic Voter Registration?

Common Cause on automatic voter registration 2020 saw changes at the Hawaii Office of Elections, which conducted its first election entirely by mail. Now, another innovation is on the docket - automatic voter registration. Sanday Ma of Common Cause Hawaii spoke to The Conversation's Savannah Harriman-Pote about what "automatic" voter registration actually means. SB 159 passed through the Senate and has made it to the House. If it passes there, Hawaii would join 20 other states that already have AVR. Click on the link to listen to the interview with Sandy Ma.


Honolulu Civil Beat - March 04, 2021 - Hawaii's Pro-Voting Reforms Are Strengthening Our Elections

Opinion by Sandy Ma, Common Cause Hawaii's Executive Director: Hawaii has a long and noble history of promoting voting among its people. During this Women’s History Month, we proudly remember that under the first Constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom, women sat and voted alongside men in the legislative sessions of the House of Nobles. Hawaii’s elected officials, especially state leadership in the House and Senate, understand that automatic voter registration will eliminate barriers to registering to vote, especially for those without access to the internet or who live far from government centers. Hawaii has a strong history of adopting pro-voting reforms. Hawaii has acted to expand the franchise for its citizens and ease barriers to the ballot, embracing the will of the people. We value democracy and understand that democracy begins with access to the ballot. With the adoption of automatic voter registration, Hawaii will be a beacon of light for other states regarding voting reforms during this time of assault on the very foundations of our democracy.


Honolulu Star-Advertiser - February 28, 2021 - Column: Automatic voter registration promotes the right to vote

It is encouraging that there are several bills before this legislative session that propose the next logical step of automatic voter registration (AVR). That includes bills introduced in the state House of Representatives by Speaker Scott Saiki and in the Senate by longtime AVR champion Sen. Karl Rhoads. One bill, introduced by Rep. Mark Nakashima, received unanimous support at its first hearing. Hopefully that legislative momentum will reverberate. AVR is a policy tool that will allow our government to make the voter registration process more efficient, convenient and cheaper. Citizens who are at least 18 years old when applying for, or renewing their ID card or driver’s license at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), would be automatically registered to vote or have their updated information sent to the county election offices — unless they opt out. The individual still has responsibility for updating their voter registration when they move.

Join the movement over 1 million strong for democracy

Join us: Americans deserve open, honest, accountable government.