HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

136

TWENTY-NINTH LEGISLATURE, 2017

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

RELATING TO ELECTIONS.

 

 

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

 


SECTION 1. Chapter 11, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding three new sections to part X to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"11-A Instant runoff voting method; procedure for counting votes. (a) To determine the winners in an election conducted by the instant runoff voting method, election officials shall initially count the ballots according to the first choice marked on each ballot. If at the end of the initial count, one candidate receives a majority of the votes cast, that candidate shall be declared the winner for that office.

(b) If at the end of the initial count, no candidate receives a majority of the first choice votes cast, the chief election officer or county clerk, as appropriate, shall declare that no candidate has received a majority of first choice votes and that the candidate with the fewest first choice votes and candidates receiving fewer than one per cent of the first choice votes, if any, are deemed defeated.

The chief election officer or county clerk shall transfer the first choice votes for the defeated candidate or candidates to the candidates who received the next highest ranking on each ballot containing first choice votes for the defeated candidate or candidates. If after the first round of transferring votes no candidate has received a majority of votes cast for the office, the process of eliminating candidates, transferring votes, including previously transferred votes, to candidates still in the race, and tabulating results shall continue until one candidate receives a majority of the votes cast. If after the fourth round of tabulation no candidate has received a majority of the votes cast, then the candidate with the most first choice votes following the fourth round of tabulation shall be declared the winner, regardless of whether that candidate has received a majority of the votes cast. Blank and spoiled votes shall not be tabulated.

(c) Once a winner has been declared pursuant to subsection (b), a certificate of election declaring the results shall be issued pursuant to section 11-156.

11-B Instant runoff voting method; generally. (a) Once a ballot in an election using the instant runoff voting method has no more available choices ranked on it, the ballot shall be deemed exhausted.

(b) If a ballot in an election using the instant runoff voting method skips a ranked choice, the ballot shall be deemed exhausted. A ballot that gives two or more candidates the same ranking shall be deemed exhausted when that ranking is reached unless only one of the candidates so ranked is still in the race when the vote is due to be transferred to that ranked choice.

(c) If a tie between candidates occurs at any stage in the tabulation, the tie shall be resolved against the candidate who received the fewest number of combined first choice votes and transferred votes at the previous stage of tabulation. In the case of a tie to which a previous stage does not apply, or where the previous stage was also a tie, the tie shall be resolved by drawing lots. However, if a tie occurs when there are only two candidates remaining, the tie shall be resolved as set forth in section 11‑157.

11-C Instant runoff voting method; application. (a) The instant runoff voting method shall be conducted by mail, pursuant to section 11-91.5, and shall be used for any federal, state, or county election not held on the date of a regularly scheduled primary or general election. The election shall consist of one election contest and no subsequent separate runoff election shall be held.

(b) The election proclamation required pursuant to section 11-91 shall state that votes shall be cast and tabulated using the instant runoff voting method and provide an explanation of the procedures for instant runoff voting.

(c) For purposes of this section, the chief election officer and county clerks shall adopt rules under chapter 91 to provide for the use of mechanical, electronic, or other means devised for marking, sorting, and counting the ballots and tabulating and transferring the votes in an election using the instant runoff voting method; provided that no rule shall alter the intent or principles embodied in the instant runoff voting method described in this part.

(d) Ballots approved under this section shall be simple and easy to understand and shall allow a voter to rank each candidate for an office in order of preference, up to four places. Prior to finalization and printing, sample ballots shall be made available for a minimum of seven days on the applicable office of elections' website and at the office of elections for public review and comment.

Instructions on the ballot shall include the following statement: "You may mark as many as four or as few alternate choices as you wish. Marking a second choice cannot help defeat your first choice. Marking a subsequent choice cannot help defeat your higher-ranked choices."

Sample ballots illustrating the procedures for instant runoff voting shall be included in the instruction materials for mail ballots, and posted on the office of elections' website. The office of elections shall distribute educational materials explaining instant runoff voting prior to the election."

SECTION 2. Section 11-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new definition to be appropriately inserted and to read as follows:

""Instant runoff voting method" means a method of casting and tabulating votes that tabulates a single vote for each voter but simulates the ballot counts that would occur if all voters participated in a series of runoff elections, whereby voters are allowed to rank candidates according to the voter's preference and, if no candidate obtains a majority of first choice votes, votes are transferred in sequential tabulations according to voters' preferences."

SECTION 3. Section 11-112, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"11-112 Contents of ballot. (a) The ballot shall contain the names of the candidates, their party affiliation or nonpartisanship in partisan election contests, the offices for which they are running, and the district in which the election is being held. In multimember races the ballot shall state that the voter shall not vote for more than the number of seats available or the number of candidates listed where [such] the number of candidates is less than the number of seats available.

(b) The ballot may include questions concerning proposed state constitutional amendments, proposed county charter amendments, or proposed initiative or referendum issues.

(c) At the chief election officer's discretion, the ballot may have a background design imprinted onto it.

(d) When the electronic voting system is used, the ballot may have pre-punched codes and printed information which identify the voting districts, precincts, and ballot sets to facilitate the electronic data processing of these ballots.

(e) The name of the candidate may be printed with the Hawaiian or English equivalent or nickname, if the candidate so requests in writing at the time the candidate's nomination papers are filed. Candidates' names, including the Hawaiian or English equivalent or nickname, shall be set on one line.

(f) The ballot shall bear no word, motto, device, sign, or symbol other than as allowed in this title.

(g) The ballot may include language necessary to use the instant runoff voting method in sections 11-A, 11-B, and 11-C."

SECTION 4. Section 11-151, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"11-151 Vote count. [Each] Except for contests where the instant runoff voting method is used, each contest or question on a ballot shall be counted independently as follows:

(1) If the votes cast in a contest or on a question are equal to or [less] fewer than the number to be elected or chosen for that contest or question, the votes for that contest or question shall be counted;

(2) If the votes cast in a contest or question exceed the number to be elected or chosen for that contest or question, the votes for that contest or question shall not be counted; and

(3) If a contest or question requires a majority of the votes for passage, any blank, spoiled, or invalid ballot shall not be tallied for passage or as votes cast except that such ballots shall be counted as votes cast in ratification of a constitutional amendment or a question for a constitutional convention."

SECTION 5. Section 11-152, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"11-152 Method of counting. (a) In an election using the paper ballot voting system, immediately after the close of the polls, the chairperson of the precinct officials shall open the ballot box. The precinct officials at the precinct shall proceed to count the votes as follows:

(1) The whole number of ballots shall first be counted to see if their number corresponds with the number of ballots cast as recorded by the precinct officials;

(2) If the number of ballots corresponds with the number of persons recorded by the precinct officials as having voted, the precinct officials shall then proceed to count the [vote] votes cast for each candidate; and

(3) If there are more ballots or [less] fewer ballots than the record calls for the precinct officials shall proceed as directed in section 11-153.

(b) In those precincts using the electronic voting system, the ballots shall be taken in the sealed ballot boxes to the counting center according to the procedure and schedule promulgated by the chief election officer to promote the security of the ballots. In the presence of official observers, counting center employees may start to count the ballots prior to the closing of the polls; provided that there shall be no printout by the computer or other disclosure of the number of votes cast for a candidate or on a question prior to the closing of the polls. For the purposes of this section, the closing of the polls is that time identified in section 11-131 as the closing hour of voting.

(c) In an election that uses the instant runoff voting method, votes shall be counted as provided in sections 11-A and 11-B."

SECTION 6. Section 11-155, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"11-155 Certification of results of election. On receipt of certified tabulations from the election officials concerned, the chief election officer in state elections or county clerk in county elections shall compile, certify, and release the election results after the expiration of the time for bringing an election contest. The certification shall be based on a comparison and reconciliation of the following:

(1) The results of the canvass of ballots conducted pursuant to chapter 16;

(2) The audit of pollbooks (and related record books) and resultant overage and underage report;

(3) The audit results of the manual audit team;

(4) The results of the absentee ballot reconciliation report compiled by the clerks; and

(5) All logs, tally sheets, and other documents generated during the election and in the canvass of the election results.

A certificate of election or a certificate of results declaring the results of the election as of election day shall be issued pursuant to section 11-156; provided that in the event of an overage or underage, a list of all precincts in which an overage or underage occurred shall be attached to the certificate. The number of candidates to be elected receiving the [highest] greatest number of votes in any election district shall be declared to be elected[.]; provided that candidates for office subject to the instant runoff voting method shall be declared to be elected pursuant to section 11-A. Unless otherwise provided, the term of office shall begin or end as of the close of polls on election day. The position on the question receiving the appropriate majority of the votes cast shall be reflected in a certificate of results issued pursuant to section 11-156."

SECTION 7. In codifying the new sections added by section 1 of this Act, the revisor of statutes shall substitute appropriate section numbers for the letters used in designating the new sections in this Act.

SECTION 8. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 9. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2017; provided that this Act shall not apply to any election held prior to January 1, 2018; and provided further that, no later than December 31, 2017, the chief election officer and each county clerk shall adopt rules pursuant to chapter 91, Hawaii Revised Statutes, to effectuate the purposes of this Act.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

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Report Title:

Elections; Special Elections; Instant Runoff Voting

 

Description:

Establishes instant runoff voting procedures for any federal, state, or county election not held on the date of a regularly scheduled primary or general election.

 

 

 

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