Chair Rep. Souki, Vice Chair Rep. Linda Ichiyama, members of TRN,
The League of Women Voters of Hawaii supports the intent of HB 48 which is to encourage voter participation in the electoral process by by introducing features of automatic registration whenever people apply for or renews drivers' licenses or provisional licenses, instructional permits or state identification cards. As a first step toward voting, registration of voters is all important.
While we strongly feel that it is the responsibility of all citizens to be part of the democratic process of selecting the leaders who will be enacting the laws of our land that will be affecting our lives and the health of our state, we are not sure if the language which demands mandatory registration, eg. in Chapter 286-A Voter Registration (b) Every qualified applicant identified in subsection (a) shall be required to authorize the examiner of drivers to collect and transmit the necessary personal information required for registering the qualified applicant with the county clerk, would not be intruding on a person's right not to be registered if he/she so chooses.
And as admirable as it is to expand the voter base, the attempt reaches only a certain segment of the population. If all of this is legal and not an infringement on a person's right to make his own decision, we would want other groups of people included. How about those who apply for food stamps and other forms of help from government. We would ask that those citizens be included.
Thank you for hearing HB 48 and allowing us to comment on it.