Chair Nishihara, Chair, Vice Chair Harimoto and Committee Members:
The League of Women Voters of Hawaii would like to comment on HB 150 which requires that any person who is eligible to vote and applies for a motor vehicle driver’s license, provisional license,or instruction permit, or for a civil identification card shall be automatically registered to vote.
The League of Women Voters strongly supports efforts to register potential voters. However, HB 150 requires any eligible citizen obtaining a driver’s license or state identification card, be automatically registered to vote. As it stands, this bill is coercive and may not comply with the National Voter Registration act that requires state agencies to offer voter registration as an option.
The League strongly supports the intent of this bill, but potential voters must have the option of declining to register to vote when they come to a state agency for other business. Rather than mandating that potential voters be registered in this manner, it would be better to ensure that the voter registration process at our
department of motor vehicle offices is encouraged and easily accomplished.
To this end, the League encourages you to support the Office of Elections legislative package bill HB 176, which mandates registering potential voters at the DMV, unless the potential voter declines to register to vote. HB 176 is a more appropriate bill to encourage increased participation in voting.
We urge you to consider our comments on this bill. Thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony.