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LWV-Hawaii Legislative Testimony

HB 1132

Relating to
Election Day Poll Watchers

House Committee on Judiciary (JUD) - chair: Waters, vice chair: Oshiro

Tuesday, February 6, 2007, 2:00 p.m. Room 325

Testifier: JoAnn Maruoka, Legislative Committee member, LWV-Hawaii

Click here to view HB1132

The League of Women Voters urges your support for this bill. It is great that, with all the contending priorities for everyone’s time and attention, people are willing to spend their day serving as poll watchers so that we can be fairly assured our elections are as open and honest as possible, and that any errors and omissions will be discovered in a timely manner and corrected.

Poll watchers who volunteer their services free of charge certainly contribute to the success of our system. Of course, they need to know what to watch for. That means they must be familiar with our election laws and rules and the election site procedures. We feel it is important that they be trained for this task, and trained and certified by qualified instructors who know the process well and possible areas for slip-ups to occur.

The poll watcher needs to know what to do if he/she sees something that is interfering with the voting process or obstructing an individual’s voting rights. The reporting process and remedy must keep the disruption to the polling place at a minimum. This takes training.

We also feel that another requirement is that all partisanship must be kept out of the precinct polling places. One thing everyone agrees on, we’re sure, is that elections must be honest and fair. That is the only way we get legitimately recognized elected officials. I suppose it’s only natural for members of any party to trust fellow members a little more than members of the other parties, especially when it comes to elections. But as long as we all share the same objective, that of keeping our elections honest and fair, so that at the end of the day we can all say we won fairly or lost fairly, all the workers at the polling sites, and all of the poll watchers will have accomplished a shared goal. We believe that this is the true role of poll watchers. Being trained and certified will support them in performing their role.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify on this bill.


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