A measure that would provide a process for the public to register to vote at polling sites on election day will be heard in a final conference committee on Friday, April 25, 2014. Representative Kaniela Ing of Maui who introduced the bill noted that Hawaiʻi has the lowest voter turnout in the nation and said, “It’s time we end this shameful distinction and foster a stronger public voice. There are all kinds of reasons people do not vote; arbitrary registration deadlines should not be one of them.” House Bill 2590 would allow voter registration at absentee polling places beginning in 2016; and late voter registration, including on election day, beginning in 2018.
The state recorded a 61.9% voter turnout in the 2012 General Election — including a 33.5% precinct and 28.4% absentee turnout. In the 2012 General Election, Maui’s voter turnout was even lower at 56.8% — including a 35.9% precinct and 21% absentee turnout.
Ing provided updates estimates, citing national studies as a source, saying the measure in its current form is expected to increase voter turnout in Hawaiʻi by an estimated 5-8%, and voting among 18-25-year-olds by 7-9%.