2019 Legislative Wrap Up
2019 Legislative Wrap Up
Vote-By-Mail: Governor Ige signed HB1248 into law as Act 136, Session Laws of Hawaii 2019 (Act 136). Act 136 will establish vote by mail uniformly across all counties for all elections commencing with the 2020 primary. It will also establish a limited number of voter service centers that will remain open from the tenth business day preceding an election through the day of the election to receive personal delivery of mail-in ballots, accommodate voters with special needs, offer same day registration and voting, and provide other election services. We have been advocating for vote by mail for years, and this is important election and voter reform win for the Common Cause Ohana and our partners!
Mandatory Recounts: Governor Ige signed SB 216 into law as Act 135, Session Laws of Hawaii 2019 (Act 135). The Common Cause Hawaii Ohana supported Act 135, which provides for mandatory recount of election votes and ballot measures when the margin of victory for election contests or tabulation for ballot measures is equal to or less than one hundred or one-quarter of one per cent of the votes cast, whichever is greater. This law will promote confidence in the electoral system and potentially save time and resources of the court system by avoiding having to file suit for a recount in close elections.
Article V Constitutional Convention (ConCon): Common Cause Hawaii Ohana and its partners led to the defeat of Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 131, which requested Congress to convene a limited national convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for the exclusive purpose of proposing an amendment to the United States Constitution that will limit the influence of money in the electoral process. While SCR 131 purposed to limit the scope of any Article V ConCon, the truth is that it is unknown whether an Article V convention may be limited to one topic or must be a general convention, which could hypothetically propose amendments for any provision of the federal constitution, ostensibly putting all of our hard fought rights at risk, e.g., LGBTQIA rights, voting rights, rights of access to the courts, etc. Common Cause Hawaii stands ready to defeat any calls for an Article V ConCon during the next session.
Automatic Voter Registration: SB 412, SD 2, HD 1 makes an application for voter registration, including an affidavit, part of all driver’s license and identification card applications. The bill automatically registers each applicant who elects to register for voting unless the applicant affirmatively declines to be registered to vote and requires sharing of information among the counties, Hawaii Department of Transportation, and election personnel. Unfortunately, this bill did not survive the 2019 Legislature and make it out of conference committee. Common Cause Hawaii will again be advocating in favor of Automatic Voter Registration, and we will be counting on you to keep spreading the word, showing up for events, and moving our work forward for a stronger democracy.