Think About It: Voting Woes - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

August 20, 2012

Think About It: Voting Woes

The voting debacle on the Big Island is symptomatic of the larger election process problem here in Hawaii. As we have one of the worst voting records of any state in the union to begin with, shouldn't we be doing everything possible to make it easier for people to vote? And primary elections here are held on Saturdays- meaning most people don't have work issues to contend with. Keep in mind that the 42% voting number in the 2012 primary is even worse when you consider that 42% represents the percentage of registered voters who decided to participate. It doesn't count the tens of thousands of eligible voters 18-years of age and older who didn't even bother to register locally.

While some states are making it harder for people to vote, Hawaii has made inroads by allowing for early walk-in voting and absentee voting by mail; almost half of the August 11th primary votes came in early. The next logical step would be to allow for Election Day registration. Why not allow people to vote on election days by showing legal ID at their polling location? There is also a call by some to allow for web voting. While that might be fraught with all kinds of fraud potential, mail-in voting certainly allows for nefarious manipulation in a household, yet that system seems to be gaining popularity with every election held here. Let's face it, many people prize convenience over suggested civic duty. 

The fact that some polls opened late on August 11th on the Big Island, due in part to polling gear being taken to wrong locations, shows that more work needs to be done to strengthen the volunteer pool and the education of those willing to take the time to help out. We need to find more ways to make it easier to vote in Hawaii, while at the same time working to ensure a fair and accurate voting system. Think about it…


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