Dear Chair Oshiro, Vice Chair Lee, and Members of the Committee:
Aloha, my name is Carmille Lim, board member and Voter Services Chair of the League
of Women Voters of Hawaii, and I thank you for this opportunity to testify on behalf of our
members throughout Hawaii.
On behalf of the League, I am respectfully submitting my testimony in support of
H81755, HD1. This bill would establish an online system for electronic voter registration,
which would allow eligible voters to register entirely online instead of using hard-copy
paper forms. If implemented, we can expect to see a decrease in monies spent on paper
forms and an increase in voter registration and turnout.
There are currently 12 states that have implemented online voter registration, and we
hope that Hawaii will soon follow. The League of Women Voters supports this bill for
the following 4 reasons:
I . Online voter registration is cost-effective and saves states millions of dollars
• In recent years, states like California, Louisiana, Indiana, and Colorado have
implemented the reform to great success — and this has also resulted in
significant savings. For example: in Maricopa County, Arizona, processing an
online voter registration now costs the state 3 cents, compared to 83 cents for
each paper registration. Due to its popularity, online registration has helped
reduce printing costs by 75% in the county. Washington State has also
experienced a similar cost reduction at both the state and county level.
Washington’s Secretary of State’s office (Washington’s Secretary of State serves
as the state’s chief elections officer) reports saving 25 cents per online
application, while counties have saved anywhere from 50 cents to $2 with each
• Additionally, it cost Arizona less than $130,000 and Washington state
$279,000 to implement both online voter registration and automated voter
registration at DMVs.2
2. Streamlines the registration process for election officials:
• Online voter registration ensures that citizens’ information goes directly to
election officials, thus reducing the number of people who have to handle a
registration application. This greatly reduces the chances for human and data
• Allowing Hawaii residents to register to vote or update their registrations online
would likely reduce the number of provisional ballots cast at the polls, which
can prove costly and time-consuming to process.
3. Would likely increase the accuracy of voter lists:
• Again, online voter registration would significantly reduce the data entry work
county officials must do to process new registrations.
• Hawai’i already has an electronic record of the signature for most people with a
Hawai’i state driver’s license or state-issued ID card. So by transferring electronic
data between the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Office of Elections, we
can allow people to register to vote online without the delays and errors that can
occur when mailing in a handwritten paper form which then has to be entered by
hand into a registration database.
4. Due to its convenience, online voter registration would likely increase voter
participation, especially from those of the “younger” generation:
• Completing an online voter registration form makes it easier for many voters to
register-- particularly among the “younger” generation and those who spend
more time online.
• In 2003, Arizona was the first state to implement Online Voter Registration,
and reported an improvement in voter turnout-- greatest among young voters.
In 2008, voters under 34 years old who registered online turned out at 93
percent compared to a 73 percent turnout rate for younger voters who
• Registration rates among 18-24 year-old citizens rose from 28 to 53
percent after Arizona introduced online and automated registration.
In these tough times, online voter registration is an important step in making voter
registration more modern and cost-effective.
We support the online voter registration to
register new voters and allow existing voters to update their registrations online.
We have a few specific comments about amendments to the original measure:
In Section 11-24 (c), we note that as a way to protect voter privacy, the preparation of a
list of registered voters for use by precinct officials has been deleted, together with a
posting of this list at precinct polling places.
We request that instead, each precinct publish a list of all registered voters in
each precinct district, but without the indiyiduals’ addresses. We advise that
elections officials post a list containing the names of those who reside in that precinct
district, at each precinct, in order to eliminate some of the time required for precinct
officials to answer questions about one’s correct polling place, while saving voters the
time it takes to wait in line at an incorrect polling place.
Additionally, we ask that precinct workers assigned to poll books are allowed to
keep a list of individuals’ names and addresses for their own purpose, or for
people to view (by visiting with that worker). This addresses the need to protect voter
privacy to some extent, while still allowing for one to verify voter fraud (by vetting the
address of someone listed).
Finally, the League supports the November 8, 2016 effective date as a realistic target for
studying, developing and testing the new online registration system.
The League of Women Voters of HawaII humbly asks you to continue supporting this
Mahalo for this opportunity to testify.
1 Anonymous. “cost Savings Win Bipartisan Support for Online voter Registration.” Progressive States Network. March 3, 2011. http://www.progressivestates.org/news/dispatch/cost-savings-win-bipartisan
2 Ponoroff. “Voter Registration in a Digital Age.” Brennan Center for Justice. July 13, 2010.
3 Baretto, Glaser, Mac Donald, Colllngwood, Pedraza, Pump. “Online Voter Registration Systems in Arizona and Washington: Evaluating Usage, Public Confidence and Implementation Process.” Wiser Institute of the Study of Ethnicity and Race& Election Administration Research Center. April 10, 2010. http://www.pewcenteronthestates.org/uploadedFiles/wwwpewcenteronthestatesorg/Initiatives/MVW/online_voter_reg.pdf?n+2908