A bill that attempts to ramp up Hawaii’s voter turnout by mandating all-mail elections is now headed to the full House of Representatives. House Bill 2541 cleared the Finance Committee after a hearing Tuesday. The bill calls for eventually mailing out all ballots and closing traditional polling places. The Aloha State has had the worst voter turnout in the country for the last five presidential elections. And just 35 percent of voters participated in the 2014 primary election, a record low. Oregon switched to all-mail ballots 20 years ago and has seen increased voter participation ever since. Washington and Colorado also vote exclusively by mail.
… The Office of Elections would be charged with making the switch to all-mail balloting in time for the 2020 elections. The bill would appropriate money to establish more drop-off locations for those who want to deliver their ballots themselves.
Testimony on the bill has been overwhelmingly supportive during the first two hearings. Just one person opposed it.
The Office of Elections testified that $1 million would be needed to purchase ballot scanners, sorters, security containers and drop-off boxes. Funding would also go to voter education.