The League of Women Voters supports H.B. 392 to change the age at which people may pre-register to vote from seventeen (17) to sixteen (16) years of age. Since the individual must still be eighteen (18) by Election Day to vote, this change is really to help reach out to our young people to engage them in the voting process and increase the likelihood of their active voter participation in elections. This could be viewed as a “pipeline” effect, that is, pre-registered voters are more likely to vote when they turn 18, and then continue to vote in subsequent elections.
I’ve served as a trained and certified deputy voter registrar during the last two election cycles, and have met a number of young people who were excited to learn they could pre-register, some of whom did so. By codifying the age change to sixteen, it will make even more sense to have voter registration drives at high schools, and could complement civics instruction in the schools.
I do want to mention that the June 2005 Deputy Voter Registrar Manual for the State of Hawaii, prepared by the Association of Clerks and Election Officers of Hawaii and the Office of Elections, states under voter eligibility about age, “Hawaii law allows U.S. citizens to pre-register at age sixteen (16), but must be eighteen (18) years old by election day to vote.” Therefore, H.B. 392 will synchronize the law and the instructions that deputy voter registrars are trained on and use.
We urge passage of H.B. 392. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on this bill.