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LWV-Hawaii Legislative Testimony

HB 2251 HSCR173-12

Relating to

Elections by Mail

House Committee on Finance (FIN) - chair: Marcus R. Oshiro, vice chair: Marilyn B. Lee

Friday, February 24, 2012, 12:00 pm., Conf Rm 308

Testifier: Marian W. Wilkins, LWV Elections Committee Member

Click here to view HB2251

The League of Women Voters of Hawaii SUPPORTS HB 2251 which would allow a county clerk to conduct a mail election by the residents of an island which is not contiguous to said county.

There is a question, however, about the wording ofthe bill which seems to indicate that only Kauai county would fit the description of a county with less than 100,000. Maui county, which has two non contiguous populated islands, would not qualify, if we understand the wording correctly. If this is accurate, wouldn’t it make sense to also allow the county clerk of Maui to have this option?

The ability to send ballots by mail to small populations of residents would alleviate the need to set up polling places with all the accoutrements that would be required, including staffing.

One of the reasons that our League supports voting by mail in general, is the hardship for people to get to the polls during the hours that polls are open. Many people commute long distances to work or work shifts. There is no way for them to get to the polls before 6:00 p.m. and the polls are not open until 7:00 a.m. Most people have to work on election days and, let’s be realistic, how many employers would or could let someone leave their place of employment to go vote. And how many self employed people can afford to take the time?

Now that we are allowed to vote by permanent absentee balloting, it is easier for everyone to vote, but many still do not take advantage of this option because they don’t know about it, or remember to request it in time.

Mailing ballots to registered voters solves many of these problems. The League supports extending voting by mail whenever possible when proper safeguards and the necessary mechanism is in place to assure the public that their ballots are secure.

Thank you for your consideration.


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