Hawaii's Election Laws
FACTS AND ISSUES --- Hawaii's Election Laws November 1969
LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF HAWAII
1802 Keeaumoku Street, Honolulu 96822
Voting in the United States is the fundamental act of self-government. It provides the citizen in our free society the right to make a judgment, to state a choice, to participate in the running of his government -- in the community, the State and the Nation. The ballot box is the medium for the expression of the consent of the governed.
Report on Registration and Voting Participation,
Chapter One, November 1963
Here in Hawaii right now we have a chance to participate in a reform of our elections. A chance to make them fairer, easier, and better for all. Before our Fifth Legislature in HB-752, introduced in 1969, passed by the House and now awaiting action in the Senate in the up-coming session.
This bill, if adopted, will be the first major revision of the various election laws enacted since the days of the Republic. It does not substantially change voting procedures and techniques from those used in the last election; but it does put our election laws into one package and it eliminates obsolete parts of the law.
Briefly, as indicated in the following outline, the bill calls for a total of twenty Changes, four of which are required by the new constitution:
Mandated by the NEW CONSTITUTION (4 Changes)
Names the Lt. Governor as chief election officer and defines his duties.
Allows convicted felons who have been released from physical custody to register to vote.
Eliminates literacy as a requirement for voter registration.
Establishes the operating procedures, length of time in office, and compensation for the reapportionment commission.
Streamlines Selection, Training and Function of Election Officials (6 Changes)
Allows the chief election officer to hire election inspectors
with approval by the Governor. (Eliminates the cumbersome confirmation by the Senate.)
Allows the chief election officer to use election inspectors
and clerks in any precinct within a representative district if there is a shortage, regardless of where they are registered within the district.
Establishes a formula for apportioning election inspectors and clerks by party in each representative district 'hazed on the votes cast for the congressional and state candidates of each party in the last general election. In no case would a party receive more than 50% of the inspectors and clerks available in a representative district.
Requires all polling chairmen and new inspectors and clerks to attend a school of instruction prior to an election. All experienced inspectors and clerks may attend such instruction at their discretion.
Increases the pay of all polling place officials and makes the pay for all inspectors uniform, adequately reflecting their responsibility and workload.
Allows the chief election officer to provide for the duties of election inspectors by rules and regulations. (Doing this by
rile and regulation, rather than by law, provides greater flexibility and efficiency in keeping our voting system current.)
Provides for NEW Parties (1 Change)
In order for a group to qualify as a new party, representatives of that group are required to file a petition with the chief election officer. At the present time a statutory procedure for granting and withdrawing formal recognition of a new party
is almost totally lacking. Experience in the past election could have seriously jeopardized the election had it not been for strong administrative action. In order to prevent future problems an explicit statutory procedure would be enacted into law by this bill.
Clarifies Role of State and County Election Officials (1 Change)
The role of State and County election officials is clarified by splitting equally between the State on the one hand, and the Counties on the other, all costs relating to new voting systems not specifically assigned to the State or Counties
by statute. The chief election officer is allowed to delegate
the responsibility of carrying out a shared function to the clerks.
At present the statute provisions for payment and responsibility are scattered throughout the law and are vague.
Simplifies Residence and Registration (4 Changes)
Clarifies residency, and establishes that a person may reside only in one place and may register to vote only from that place. In case of a question final determination of residence shall be made by the Clerk (subject to appeal to the Board of Registration).
Eliminates requirement that naturalization certificate be shown in order to register to vote. (This change was passed by ACT 113 of the Fifth Legislature.)
Allows the clerk of each county to change the names and addresses of voters for cause after the voter has been notified. allows the clerk to gather information on the status of names and addresses from public and private sources. Also
vision will help County Clerks in their task of keeping accurate and current voter lists.)
Allows voters to change their names and addresses at the polls on election day. (This is an added convenience to voters and another aid in keeping voting lists current.)
Introduces Reporting of Expenses and Contributions by Parties and Candidates (4 Changes)
Requires candidates for elected office, political parties or committees supporting or opposing any candidates, party, or election question, to file expense statements.
Requires persons, parties, or committees paying for political literature or advertisements to identify themselves by correct name and address.
Requires candidates, parties and committees to report the names and addresses of contributors whose contributions exceed an aggregate of $100, and the amounts contributed.
Makes anonymous contributions unlawful.
NOTE: Any person violating this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
The bill has some minor changes:
Polling places would be open from 7:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.--the law now closes the polls at 5:30 P.M.
Time allowed for voting has been made five minutes (instead of two).
The chief election officer, or county clerk, will be allowed to combine existing precincts into special election precincts in Special Elections so as to reduce the number of personnel and thus the cost of these elections.
The bill seems to emphasize fairness and efficiency--and flexibility, which is so important in these days of quick change; but it also seems to keep to the requirement for honest and fair elections.
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If you have questions on the sections deleted, the new sections added, or the sections being repealed in the bill, NOW is the time to raise them.
If you want to say "I like" or I don't like" some part of the bill, NOW is the time to let your voice be heard!
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WHO can answer your questions about the bill? -
The Lt. Governor's office.
The County Clerk of your county.
Your State Senator.
Your State Representative.
Your political party.
WHOM do you tell your likes - or dislikes - or doubts to? -
Your State Senator.
A member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Your member of the Senate Select Committee (there is a Select Committee for Oahu, for Hawaii, for Maui and for Kauai).
Let's not drag our feet. NOW IS THE TIME to make sure that your vote--your "free choice at the ballot box"--is recorded--accurately, quickly, easily.