Honolulu, Hawaii



RE:    H.B. No. 27

       S.D. 1




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Twenty-Eighth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2016

State of Hawaii




     Your Committee on Judiciary and Labor, to which was referred H.B. No. 27 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose and intent of this measure is to repeal the prohibition against willfully exhibiting one's own ballot or unvoted ballots in a special primary or primary election.


     Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from one individual.  Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Office of Elections.


     Your Committee finds that the prevalence of electronic mobile devices and social media applications and platforms increases the opportunities for people to display their ballots via social media, which are commonly known as "ballot selfies".  This measure clarifies that voters may exhibit their own ballots, which includes the dissemination of ballot images electronically or digitally.


     Your Committee notes the comments from the Office of Elections that it may not be appropriate to amend section 11-137, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS), because this section relates to the operation of a polling place.  This measure would exempt a voter from the prohibitions against willfully exhibiting the voter's own ballot in the polling place and leaving the polling place with the voter's own ballot before casting the ballot.  The Office of Elections testified that these prohibitions are meant to prevent voters from declaring at the polling place how they voted and to prevent the encouragement of others in the polling place to vote in the same way.


     Accordingly, your Committee has amended this measure by deleting its contents and inserting the contents of S.B. No. 2242, S.D. 1 (Regular Session of 2016), a substantially similar measure that adopts the language suggested by the Office of Elections, which adds a new section to chapter 11, HRS, to:


     (1)  Allow a voter to distribute or share an electronic or digital image of the voter's own marked ballot via social media or other means; and


     (2)  Establish that distributing or sharing the image of a voter's own marked ballot is not a defense for any election offense.


     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Judiciary and Labor that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 27, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 27, S.D. 1, and be placed on the calendar for Third Reading.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Judiciary and Labor,