STAND. COM. REP. NO. 435
RE: S.B. No. 1503
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirtieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2019
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs, to which was referred S.B. No. 1503 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO VOTING,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to allow incarcerated individuals who were Hawaii residents immediately prior to incarceration to vote in Hawaii elections via absentee ballot.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Public Safety, Community Alliance on Prisons, League of Women Voters of Hawaii, O‘ahu County Committee on Legislative Priorities of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, Ho‘omanapono Political Action Committee, and three individuals. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Honolulu County Republican Party and three individuals. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Office of Elections and one individual.
Your Committee finds that eighteen countries grant voting rights to the incarcerated regardless of the offense, and that preventing incarcerated individuals from voting has a disproportionate effect on communities of color.
Your Committee further finds that the loss of the right to vote impedes the successful reentry of full human beings who are prepared as responsible and productive citizens before release to ensure successful reintegration into the community. Your Committee believes that voting can be an opportunity for incarcerated persons to learn about candidates and issues, engage in civic education, and prepare for reintegration into society.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Inserting an effective date of July 1, 2050, to encourage further discussion; and
(2) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
Your Committee requests that your Committee on Ways and Means consider appropriating additional funds to the Office of Elections for the purpose of processing additional absentee ballots from incarcerated persons.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 1503, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 1503, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committees on Judiciary and Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs,
CLARENCE K. NISHIHARA, Chair