October 1992 Home   Newsletters

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January 1993

President's Message (Arlene Ellis)
Policy Statement on Alternatives to Rail for Honolulu (Astrid Monson)
Voter Service Committee Highlights (Jacqueline Vogt)
People's Water Conference #9
Help! Help!
Membership Directory
General Membership Meeting
Voter Service
Silver Legislature at the State Capitol Building
Day for Women
Would This Work Here? California Town Confronts Deficit
Public Forum - Ottawa's Bus Rapid Transit

Voter Service Committee Highlights

The Voter Service Committee participated in a wide range of activities this year aimed at inspiring people to register to vote.

The advent of the wikiwiki voter registration form in 1990 made it much simpler to register to vote; the form is as close your "yellow pages" telephone directory. The Committee, however, felt that extra encouragement was needed in certain segments of the population. One of those groups was young voters between the ages of 18 and 24.

On Saturday, July 4th, the Life Foundation, an organization for AIDS research, held an all day benefit concert featuring 6 different rock bands at the Andrews Amphitheater, UH campus. League members Sumiye Konoshima, Bernice Hayashida, Patricia Card, Tess Misrasi, Betty Goodwin, Luree Hays and Jacqueline Vogt registered over 79 voters, in addition to taking in a crash course on the pitch, loudness and unyielding duration of rock 'n roll music. Plenty of Tylenol was enjoyed by all.

Many of you saw the recent television, radio and newspaper coverage on the League's stifled primary voter registration effort at Oahu Community Correction Center. To make a long story short, officials at OCCC did not want the prisoners to vote. Reasons such as "we have no visitor center," and "we don't have the security to accommodate you," repeatedly accompanied the denial of our requests. After a great deal of persistence, permission was finally granted to hold the registration drive.

Just two days before the drive was to take place, prison officials called it off. They claimed that an OCCC employee had already handled it within the prison, personally offering the opportunity to register each and every inmate. The League obtained information through inside sources that this was not the case, including a list of prisoners claiming they were denied their right to vote. The official credited with conducting the in-house registration stated that he obtained 100 blank forms from the Lieutenant Governor's Elections office, which both logs and assigns a 2 digit code for disbursements of 20 forms or more. No such log entry or code was found under OCCC or the individual employee's name. The prisoners were claiming that they were denied their right to vote because their preference in the prosecutors race, differed from that of officials at OCCC.

While we could not turn back the clock and reclaim their right to vote, we felt it was important to expose the great injustice done to this captive group of people. Remember, these are presumably innocent people awaiting trial--not convicted criminals. In spite of a few clever play on words by Public Safety spokesman, Lyle Galdera, such as "we just didn't have the personnel to take these women from cell to cell" (who the heck expected to go cell to cell!!), the press coverage was a great success. When interviewed Galdera promised full cooperation in future efforts. The League was subsequently allowed to register the inmates for the general election.

Frisked and searched at OCCC on September 29th were League President Arlene Kim Ellis, Tess Misrasi, Arlene Woo, Dale Evans, Annie Kim and Jacqueline Vogt. We registered just about as many inmates as possible in the allotted time--57 in all. The League plans to make the prison registration drive a permanent election year event.

On Wednesday, August 19th, a community forum, covering House District 42 and Senate District 20 was held at Kaleopuu Elementary School in Waipahu. Anne Lee, past State President of the League of Women Voters of Hawaii served as moderator, League newcomer Joy Hall kept time and Jacqueline Vogt coordinated the event.

The Honolulu League, in cooperation with Rock the Vote--- a national campaign to encourage young people to vote--worked together in getting public service announcements on local television. The spots featured a variety of pop and rock stars engaging in a little "peer pressure" aimed at increasing young voter registration.

The National League and NBC worked together to develop a "Waynes World ---Wayne and Garth say Vote!" poster. The posters were distributed locally to different schools and used on League's voter registration tables.

The committee surveyed all of the candidates for the Board of Education seats, asking their views on various issues of importance to our school system and the education of our children. Marion Saunders drafted the questions which appeared in two of the community newspapers.

There were lots of projects that never made it to fruition. Among them were a Voter's Guide for use in high school mock elections sponsored by the Lieutenant Governor's office who asked the League to co-sponsor the Guide. After meeting with representatives, we decided that we would only be interested in participating if the Guide would cover issues and not merely just "fluff" put out by the candidates. The committee developed questions in 4 basic areas and submitted them for the Lieutenant Governor's approval. He decided against the discussion of any issues, thus the League chose to discontinue participation.

We also met with KHON executives with hopes of producing a local Public Service Announcement using local entertainers and UH sports figures to promote voting. The difficulty in obtaining a corporate sponsor, as well as scarcity of air time due to the Olympics and other various paid political advertising, were noted as reasons why the project never came together.

Jacqueline Vogt
Chair, Voter Service Committee

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