Honolulu has declined to collaborate with the state on its new online voter registration system. Since the city is already managing the state ID system and processing state driver’s licenses — key databases for verifying voter identification — state officials were hoping the city might be inclined to help implement the new registration system, too. No luck. The state Office of Elections is going to have to find a way to get the new system up and running on its own. The office has until the 2016 primary election to do so, as mandated by a law Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed in 2012. Scott Nago, Hawaii elections chief, told lawmakers in April that he asked the city to enter into a memorandum of agreement to work with his office to ensure that the new online system is ready in time. The city, he lamented, has “other commitments” that prevent it from helping.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s spokesman, Jesse Broder Van Dyke, said Monday that it is a question of limited resources; the city simply can’t afford the cost of taking on the online voter registration system.
As such, the Office of Elections is looking into developing a separate system that would be networked in with the city’s databases, Nago said.
The Legislature appropriated $500,000 last year for the Office of Elections to use in the planning and design of the new voter registration system. With that phase done, Nago said the next step involves putting the system into place.