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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.


Honolulu Star-Advertiser Letter to the Editor - Intimidation of Hawaii voters can’t be allowed

Disturbing incidents of voter intimidation occurred throughout Hawaii on Election Day. Arguably, the most egregious occurred at Honolulu Hale, where a group of people carrying a Proud Boys flag and a large stick approached the long line of voters, shouting, intimidating and threatening physical violence, according to Common Cause Hawaii election protection volunteers. The group left before police or staff arrived. These reported actions are not just reprehensible, they are unacceptable in a democracy. This can also be considered as terroristic threatening, a felony, as defined in Hawaii Revised Statutes § 707-716(b). Hawaii’s laws already prohibit electioneering within 200 feet of a polling place (HRS § 11-132). This protection needs to be extended to any voter waiting in line to vote, to register to vote, or to deposit a ballot in a place of deposit — beyond the 200 feet. We must protect democracy’s most fundamental pillar, the right to vote. Danielle Bass Brodie Lockard Board members, Common Cause Hawaii


Honolulu Star-Advertiser Column: Hawaii’s vote-by-mail works, but improvements are necessary

Hawaii’s vote-by-mail process adopted in 2019, prior to the advent of the coronavirus, was proven emphatically to work. It significantly increased Hawaii’s disgracefully low voter turnout rate, even in the middle of a pandemic. Voter turnout increased by more than 16% over the previous primary in a general election year, and by more than 14% over the prior general election! Even though Hawaii’s mail-in balloting process was successful, improvements should still be made. This column was authored by Sandy Ma, Executive Director, Common Cause Hawaii


Honolulu Star-Advertiser - Long Election Day voter lines lead to complaints

Honolulu election officials said they anticipated more Oahu residents would show up on Election Day to vote at one of the two designated voter services centers on the island, just not 4,520 of them during that 12-hour span. Common Cause Hawaii Executive Director, Sandy Ma, had warned elections officials since before the Aug. 8 primary that the eight voting sites across the state, including the two on Oahu, would be inadequate and that other policies established by the counties and state weren’t going to work either.

Voting & Elections 11.5.2020

HPR Website Article - Common Cause Warned That More Voter Centers Would Be Needed

Results in Hawaii’s first-ever vote by mail election were severely delayed last night by long lines of residents casting votes -- in person. While the goal was for all registered voters to cast their ballots by mail or drop box, traditional, in-person voting was still available on every island, but only at select locations. In fact, there were only eight polling places state-wide that allowed in person voting. There were hours long delays. Sandy Ma, with good governance group Common Cause Hawaii, through much of 2020 had raised a red flag about the small number of voter service centers. "Common Cause has been advocating for additional voter service centers. Certainly eight statewide is not enough," Ma said.

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