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Modernizing Hawaii’s voter registration system

Common+Cause+Hawaii%2C+a+local+nonpartisan+organization%2C+will+re-introduce+a+bill+this+session+that+would+allow+residents+to+register+as+voters+when+applying+for+a+driver%E2%80%99s+license.
Common Cause Hawaii, a local nonpartisan organization, will re-introduce a bill this session that would allow residents to register as voters when applying for a driver’s license.

Common Cause Hawaii, a local nonpartisan organization, will re-introduce a bill this session that would allow residents to register as voters when applying for a driver’s license.

Common Cause Hawaii, a local nonpartisan organization, will re-introduce a bill this session that would allow residents to register as voters when applying for a driver’s license.

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With the disappointing 34-percent voter turnout during the August primary election, it is essential that barriers hindering citizens from exercising their rights are eliminated.

That’s where Common Cause Hawaii comes into the picture. The nonpartisan grassroots organization is dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. Recently, its members submitted a proposal that aims to increase the voting pool—one driver’s license at a time.

House Bill 401, which failed this past session, would allow residents to register as voters when they apply for a license. This option would be much more convenient for the average citizen because it eliminates the need to submit a form via mail or to visit the county clerk office. It also gives citizens the option to opt out of registering.

Corie Tanida, the executive director of Common Cause Hawaii, believes that the proposal will modernize Hawaii’s voting registration. She said, “With the passage of automatic voter registration, our state will have the opportunity to modernize our antiquated registration policies…reducing barriers to the ballot box.”

Although one does not need to be a U.S citizen to obtain a driver’s license, this system will require voters to present their birth certificate and social security card in order to prove U.S citizenship. Thus, eliminating the risk of allowing non-US citizens the ability to vote.

According to the organization, other states that implement this method show a 90-percent increase in registry rate. While it is too early to determine if this way of registering correlates to a higher rate of voter turnout, it does have the potential to rid voters of one obstacle in registering.

Ultimately, the measure aims to make voting registration easier for eligible citizens. If lawmakers do not pass this bill by the next session, then people will still face difficulty in registering. Thus, causing the voter turnout numbers to remain the same or, worse yet, decrease. Moreover, if the government does not attempt to lessen the number of boundaries its people faces, then it would simply not be doing its job.

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Modernizing Hawaii’s voter registration system