Honolulu, Hawaii



RE:    S.B. No. 2006

       S.D. 1




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirtieth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2020

State of Hawaii




     Your Committee on Judiciary, to which was referred S.B. No. 2006 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose and intent of this measure is to establish ranked choice voting for special federal elections and special elections of vacant county council seats.


     Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from Common Cause Hawaii, Americans for Democratic Action, Libertarian Party of Hawaii, and one individual.  Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from three individuals.  Your Committee received comments on this measure from the League of Women Voters


     Your Committee finds that special elections for federal and county council offices often involve numerous candidates and can result in situations in which a candidate wins with a plurality of votes that falls well short of a majority.  In ranked choice voting, a voter ranks candidates from first to least choice.  First choice votes are counted to determine what candidate receives the most votes.  If a candidate receives a majority of votes, they win.  If no candidate receives a majority, the candidate with the fewest first-choice rankings is eliminated.  If a voter's first choice is eliminated, the voter's vote for their next ranked choice is counted.  This repeats until one candidate reaches a majority and wins.  Your Committee finds that ranked choice voting ensures that elections in which a large number of candidates appear on the ballot can be won with clear majorities without the need for costly and inefficient runoff elections.


     Your Committee further finds that adoption of any significant change to how a voter casts their ballot must be accompanied by a comprehensive program of voter education.


     Your Committee has amended this measure by:


     (1)  Inserting language that requires the Office of Elections to conduct voter education on ranked choice voting prior to any election where ranked choice voting will be used and allows the Office of Elections to work with community partners and non-profit entities to enhance educational outreach; and


     (2)  Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.


     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Judiciary that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 2006, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 2006, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.


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