Urgent Action Required to Remove Voting Barriers

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6 mins read
Tom Arthur from Orange, CA, United States [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The State of Hawaii Legislature will reconvene on Monday, June 22.   

SB2794 SD1 has moved from the Senate to the House, but it still needs to be scheduled in the House Judiciary Committee for a hearing.

Common Cause Hawaii has proposed amendments to SB2794 to improve the bill, including provisions related to the Vote by Mail law.   The proposed amendments include the requirement for additional Voter Service Centers and drop boxes on election day and during early voting.  

This is because it is well recognized that voting by mail must be complemented with a sufficient number of Voter Service Centers and drop boxes for all mail voting to be successful.   Because polling places will now be eliminated, voters need access to in-person voting options to address ballot issues as they occur.  You could lose your ballot, need help because of a disability, or need to update your address.  

Indivisible Hawaii supports SB2794 with these proposed amendments to be heard in House Judiciary Committee, when the Hawaii State Legislature reconvenes next Monday, June 22, 2020.

In addition, Indivisible Hawaii supports an additional change to SB2794 to count all ballots postmarked by election day, a change from the current law which requires that to be counted, ballots have to be received by 7pm of election day.  This law unreasonably infringes on our right to cast a vote.

The current law only provides for 8 Voter Service Centers across the state:

  • Oahu – Honolulu and Kapolei – a long drive from Haleiwa if you need help
  • Big Island – Hilo and Kona – a barrier for people living in Ka’u or North Kohala
  • Maui – only one in Wailuku, all day drive from Hana to get assistance 
  • Lanai and Molokai – each have one center 
  • Kauai – only one in Lihue

PLEASE TAKE THESE ACTIONS TODAY

1.  Contact Rep. Chris Lee (Chair of House Judiciary)

  • Script:  Please HEAR SB2794 with Common Cause Hawaii’s suggested changes when the legislative session reconvenes on June 22, 2020.  In addition, please add the amendment to permit that all mail in ballots postmarked by election day be counted.
  • Contact Info

2.  Contact Sen. Karl Rhoads (Chair of Senate Judiciary)

  • Script:  Please SUPPORT SB2794 with Common Cause Hawaii’s suggested changes when the legislative session reconvenes on June 22, 2020.  In addition, please add the amendment to permit that all mail in ballots postmarked by election day be counted.
  • Contact Info

3.  Contact your State Representative and Senators

  • Script:  Please SUPPORT SB2794 with Common Cause Hawaii’s suggested changes when the legislative session reconvenes on June 22, 2020.  In addition, please add the amendment to permit that all mail in ballots postmarked by election day be counted.
  • You may find your state representative and state senator here.

———————————————————————————
KEY COMPONENTS OF COMMON CAUSSE AMENDMENTS

  • For Voter Service Center:                   
    • In each county, voter service centers shall be open from the tenth business day before election day for the same hours statewide. Voter service centers shall be established on an inhabited island of a county as follows:
    • An inhabited island of 300 square miles or less (Molokai and Lanai) shall have one (1) voter service center;
    • An inhabited island between 1,000 square miles and 301 square miles (Kauai, Maui Island, and Oahu) shall have three (3) voter service centers and shall have two (2) additional voter service centers open on election day until 7:00 pm, provided that all voter service centers shall be located at least 10 miles from one another; and
    • An inhabited island over 1,001 square miles (Hawaii Island) shall have four (4) voter service centers and shall have two (2) additional voter service centers open on election day until 7:00 pm, provided that all voter service centers shall be located at least 15 miles from one another.
    • The clerks may operate additional voter service centers with varying days or hours of operations to service the voters of particular areas that otherwise could not support the operation of a voter service center for ten business days on the same times statewide.
  • For Places of Deposit (Drop Boxes):
    • The clerks shall designate and provide for at a minimum forty (40) (currently there are 37) places of deposit to be open five business days before the election until 7:00 p.m. on the day of the election.
  • Funding:
    • There is CARES Act election security funding that may be used to establish the voter service centers and drop boxes. Approximately $3.3 million was provided to the State Office of Elections. Only $1.9 million has been used. The remainder may be spent on additional voter service centers and drop boxes, including staffing, training, and PPE.

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DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.


Indivisible Hawaii brings the fight to save our democracy to nearly 400 of our friends and neighbors on Oahu plus members through the Indivisible Hawaii Statewide Network chapters on Kauai, Maui County and Hawaii Island.

Indivisible Hawaii is a pro-democracy citizen activist group whose mission is to protect and enhance the institutions of democracy in our Country and our State. We seek to resist Trumpism by engaging our elected officials at all levels of government and promote progressive and democratic values.

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