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Voting & Elections 07.30.2020

A coalition is raising the alarm about there being too few Voter Service Centers in Hawaii designated for the General Election.

This week Common Cause Hawaii, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and ACLU of Hawaii Foundation banded together to raise an alarm about what they describe as unconstitutional “election gaps.” They want the state Office of Elections and county clerks to move toward a solution by Friday, leaving open the prospect of legal action.

Voting & Elections 07.29.2020

Three voting rights groups have given the state and counties a Friday deadline to commit to increasing the number of voter service centers or face legal action.

Common Cause, the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii Foundation and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, through their attorney Jeff Portnoy, in a letter Monday to Attorney General Clare Connors, declare the current number of just eight voter service centers statewide violates the state constitution because it disenfranchises voters in heavily populated urban areas and geographically distant rural areas and doesn’t provide reasonable accommodation to disabled voters.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser OpEd Column: Common Cause, transparency are vital to good government

Fifty years ago in 1970, Punahou School graduate John W. Gardner — a Republican secretary of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) under a Democratic president, Lyndon B. Johnson — founded Common Cause, which became the nation's largest public interest group dedicated to providing open, honest and accountable government. As is the case today in America, disenchantment with government was exceedingly high. In our current climate of cynicism and exhaustion with corruption in politics at the highest level, Common Cause Hawaii's efforts to sustain the legacy of Gardner in advocating for good government is particularly important. Sandy Ma, executive director of Common Cause Hawaii, has repeatedly and forcefully spoken out, calling for an end in local politicsof insidious abuses of our fragile democracy.

Voting & Elections 06.19.2020

On Hawaii Public Radio's The Conversation - A Discussion of Concerns Raised about Voting By Mail

Before the nation was overwhelmed by the current health crisis, only five states conducted their elections through mail-in voting. Now, concerns over social distancing are causing elections offices across the country to reconsider how best to bring the ballot to the people. Hawaii was among those five states, and while mail-in voting is available for all residents - some are concerned about the lack of statewide Voter Services Centers. Sandy Ma, Common Cause Hawaii Executive Director and Lisa Gibson, group leader for Indivisible Hawaii Statewide Network are interviewed on their concerns. At the website link, scroll down to the 5th Conversation segment to listen to these concerns.

Voting & Elections 05.22.2020

Honolulu Star-Advertiser OpEd Column - Elections office needs to prepare for vote-by-mail problems

In a few months, a potential 750,000 registered voters will vote by mail (VBM) for the very first time statewide in Hawaii. We’re in the midst of a pandemic causing — among much else — unprecedented social disruption and unpredictability. A second wave of COVID-19 is predicted during the lead-up to the general election in the fall. Many voters will not understand the new VBM process, or even be aware of it until days or hours before it begins. Common Cause Hawaii has already heard questions such as, “Do I have to register again?” (No, you don’t.) Yet the proclamation lists only two voter service centers (VSCs) on Oahu, three on Maui, two on Hawaii island and one on Kauai as sufficient to handle not just in-person voting, same-day voter registration and the collection of voted ballots — but also the lost, undelivered and spoiled ballots, plus the confusion, mistakes, mishaps and countless questions that VBM’s launch will inevitably bring.

Voting & Elections 05.14.2020

Honolulu Civil Beat - Community Voice - Hawaii Is The Envy Of The Nation — For Voting At Home

Hawaii's all mail-in voting system is being touted as the cure-all that could save lives and preserve democracy, when voting during the coronavirus pandemic. Under Hawaii’s new vote-by-mail law, there will no longer be traditional polling locations. There will, instead, only be eight voter service centers statewide for people to vote in-person, same-day register to vote, or perform other necessary voter services. However, comprehensive planning will be critically important for Hawaii’s all mail-in Aug. 8 primary and Nov. 3 general elections to be successful.

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