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Thank you for your interest in submitting testimony in support of SB 1543, which would set up a system of fully publicly financed elections in Hawai’i!

Here’s how you can submit your testimony:

  1. Visit the Hawaii Legislature’s testimony page.
  2. Log in if you have an account already. If you don’t, click the link to register for an account.
  3. Click the “Submit Testimony” Button in the top left corner.
  4. Enter “SB1543” in the Search bar on the left.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions and select the “Support” option.
  6. Write your testimony in, we’ve provided a sample below.
  7. Hit the “Submit” Button and if can, join us in person at State Capitol Conference Room 308 today, April 5th, at 2pm.

Here is a sample testimony you can use as a template, or submit as is:

Aloha Committee Members,

It’s crucially important that this body does everything in its power to remove the influence money has on our politics. Corruption is far too rampant in Hawai‘i and the pay-to-play behavior of our politicians needs to end now. Money in politics holds back progress on all the issues important to local working families: from affordable housing, to cost of living, to protecting our environment, and more.

The Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct (CISC) recommended that the legislature should boost public funding for elections to help candidates avoid relying on financial support from large donors or special interest groups. The CISC endorses this bill as a means to achieve that goal.

SB1543 would set up a system of fully publicly financed elections. It would provide participating candidates with competitive amounts of funding they need to run an effective campaign, and would ban them from receiving any private donations at all. This system worked very well for Hawaiʻi County Council races in 2010 and 2012, and currently works very well statewide in places like Connecticut and Maine.

The benefits of this program would be enormous compared to its relatively small cost. Connecticut’s program spent less than $14 million during the last election cycle. Even with high participation rates amongst candidates, estimated expenses for Hawai’i are less than $10 million per year, representing less than 0.1% of the state budget.

This is an opportunity to lessen the influence of money in politics, give political power to the people, and restore the people’s trust in this body and in you all. These are all necessary, given that voters rank government corruption as one of the top three issues facing Hawai‘i, and 74% of the Hawai‘i voting public favors enacting public financed elections and ending the influence of corporate and private donations. 

That’s because we know that it’s the single biggest thing we could do to end pay-to-play corruption in our politics and start building a Hawaiʻi that puts kamaʻāina and kānaka maoli, local people, first — not big money interests. Please, do the right thing.


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