Chair Rhoads, Vice Chair San Buenaventura, and Committee Members:
The League of Women Voters of Hawaii would like to comment on SB 178 which allows the county clerk to electronically transmit absentee ballots if mailed absentee ballots are not received by the voter within five days of an election.
The League of Women Voters supports the intent of this bill, which would allow for late transmission of ballots and votes. However, we are concerned that there is no mention of “secure transmission” in this bill.
Hawai’i presently deals with about 25 ballots per election which have been sent and/or received electronically as mandated by the federal Military and Overseas Voters Empowerment Act of 2009, which requires states to provide blank absentee ballots to uniformed and overseas absentee voters.
HB 178 has the potential to expand the number of voters using electronic transmission in our State. It is time to mandate that the system be secure for both distribution and return of ballots for both overseas and local voters. The National Conference of State Legislatures website shows that other states, notably Alaska, have worked out electronic voting systems they feel are secure. Electronic voting in Hawai’i needs to be secure, and as simple as possible, to encourage all eligible citizens to vote.
Please add the word “secure” in front of transmission where appropriate in this bill and then pass the bill.
Thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony in support of a revised HB 178.