Chair Rhoads, Vice Chair San Buenaventura and Committee Members:
The League of Women Voters of Hawaii would like to comment on HB 401 which provides that all applicants for a new or renewed driver’s license, provisional license, instructional permit, or civil identification card, who are eligible to register to vote, shall automatically be registered to vote.
The League of Women Voters strongly supports efforts to register potential voters. However, HB 401 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 likely does not comply with the National Voter Registration Act that requires state agencies to offer, not require, voter registration as an option.
he 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 provides a good, legal way to encourage increased participation in voting.
We urge you to consider our opposition to this bill. Thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony.