Report Title:

Elections; Voter Registration and Education Program

Description:

Establishes a voter registration and education program in the office of elections to promote participation in elections by encouraging voter registration, voter education, and voter turnout.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

1587

TWENTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2003

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 


 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

relating to elections.

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

SECTION 1. Findings and purpose. The legislature finds that citizen participation in elections is vital to the health and well-being of our democracy and representative form of government. When the citizenry opts out of their responsibility to vote, public confidence and support of government is undermined, as is government's effectiveness in serving the people of the State.

The 2000 election statistics show that Hawaii ranked last in the nation in voter turnout with about half of its voting age citizens having participated in that presidential election. In the 2002 elections, voter participation may have improved slightly, but little state resources were contributed to coordinate or implement voter registration and education programs.

The legislature believes that government can help to facilitate community-based efforts aimed at increasing the percentage of voting age citizens who are actually registered to vote, educating voters on the candidates and questions on the ballot, informing voters on their polling locations and methods of voting, and encouraging voters to participate in the elections. The legislature further believes that a state-funded community-based voter registration and education program in the office of elections should be established to serve as a facilitator for this program.

The purpose of this Act is to establish a voter registration and education program in the office of elections to promote participation in elections by encouraging voter registration, voter education, and voter turnout. This Act also appropriates funds to implement this program.

SECTION 2. Chapter 11, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"11- Voter registration and education program. The chief election officer shall establish a voter registration and education program to promote participation in elections by encouraging voter registration, voter education, and voter turnout."

SECTION 3. The chief election officer shall report on progress made toward establishing the voter registration and education program, including any findings and recommendations and any proposed implementing legislation, to the legislature no later than twenty days before the convening of the regular session of 2004.

SECTION 4. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $300,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2003-2004, for the chief election officer to establish a voter registration and education program.

SECTION 5. The sum appropriated shall be expended by the office of elections for the purposes of this Act.

SECTION 6. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 7. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2003.

INTRODUCED BY:

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