A measure taking aim at Hawaii’s worst-in-the-nation voter turnout is now law. Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed a bill making Hawaii the 12th state in the country where late registration could be done on the day voters head to the polls. But same-day voting registration won’t begin until the 2018 elections to give state election officials time to phase in the program. “Hopefully, this will improve voter turnout and as I say, the delayed implementation gives the county clerks and the Office of Elections time to make sure it’s implemented accurately,” Abercrombie said.
During the 2012 elections, just 42 percent of registered voters cast a ballot. Some blame Hawaii’s one-party dominance for turning off voters while others say voters are content with the status quo.
“No matter what the reason is, people aren’t coming to the polls and government should make it as easy as possible for new voters to be able to do so,” said state Rep. Kaniela Ing, D-Kihei, who helped introduce the measure.
Carmille Lim, executive director of Common Cause Hawaii, said more can be done to improve turnout but that the new law is a good first step.