Automatic Voter Registration Fails in Hawaii

Honolulu, HI — Common Cause Hawaii and the League of Women Voters of Hawaii today issued the following joint statement following the failure of SB 412 to move out of the Conference Committee:

“The failure to move SB 412 and modernize Hawaii’s elections through automatic voter registration is a real setback at a time when our democracy is truly under threat.

“In our current political climate, it is imperative that we do all we can to encourage people to become more engaged and participate in civic life. Automatic voter registration would have helped do just that. It would have made it easier for busy working people and millennials juggling work and studies to register with no additional effort, whenever they renewed their driver’s license, or applied for a state ID, or recorded a change of address. Automatic voter registration would have delivered efficiency, accuracy, and, importantly, thousands in savings that could have been directed to other areas of need.

“We are grateful to the many young people–the next generation of voters–who said of automatic voter registration, ‘What’s not to like?’

“We plan to ask lawmakers the same question next session when we renew our efforts to introduce automatic voter registration as one more tool — like vote by mail — to encourage greater civic engagement. We have an obligation to use all the tools at our disposal to give more people, especially the ones who are traditionally under-represented, a voice in the shaping of public policy and in how those policies are enacted.

“Anything that encourages people to vote is something that lawmakers should welcome and embrace.”