Honolulu, Hawaii


RE: S.B. No. 159

S.D. 1




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirty-First State Legislature

Regular Session of 2021

State of Hawaii




Your Committee on Judiciary, to which was referred S.B. No. 159 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


The purpose and intent of this measure is to:


(1) Require any person who is eligible to vote and applies for a motor vehicle driver's license or identification card to be automatically registered to vote unless the applicant affirmatively declines;


(2) Allow an applicant to affirmatively decline to have any of the applicant's information electronically transmitted; and


(3) Authorize access to and electronic transmission of databases maintained or operated by the counties or the Department of Transportation that contains driver's license or identification card information to election officials and the online voter registration system.


Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Transportation; Office of Elections; Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women; Office of the Kauai County Clerk; League of Women Voters; LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii; Common Cause Hawaii; Automatic Voter Registration Hawaii Coalition; Hawaii Women's Coalition; Hawaii Health & Harm Reduction Center; AARP Hawaii; American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii; Hawaii Democratic Party Women's Caucus; Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii; American Association of University Women of Hawaii; Americans for Democratic Action; Young Progressives Demanding Action; Sierra Club of Hawaii; Pride At Work; Hawaii Public Health Institute; Earth Medicine Institute; Hawaii Government Employees Association, AFSCME Local 152, AFL-CIO; Community Alliance on Prisons; Hawaii State Teachers Association; Hawaii Friends of Civil Rights; Save Medicaid Hawaii; and thirty-two individuals. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from one individual.


Your Committee finds that increased voter engagement and participation is beneficial to the civic health of the State, and that increased voter registration is a vital step in this process. Your Committee further finds that automatic voter registration will make voter rolls more accurate and secure by helping to keep them updated and current. This measure will provide more access to voter registration and ensure the accuracy of voter registration rolls by transmitting voter registration data between the driver licensing and identification card database and the statewide voter registration system.


Your Committee has amended this measure by:


(1) Requiring information about the residence address confidentiality program to be provided to applicants;


(2) Removing redundant language prohibiting the Examiner of Drivers from transmitting information that the applicant affirmatively declines to be transmitted;


(3) Prohibiting the Examiner of Drivers from transmitting information if the applicant presents a document demonstrating a lack of United States citizenship;


(4) Clarifying that information to be transmitted includes changes to an applicant's voter registration information;


(5) Clarifying that databases containing driver's license or identification card information shall be "accessible" instead of "directly accessible" to election officials and the online voter registration system; and


(6) 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. 159, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 159, S.D. 1, and be placed on the calendar for Third Reading.


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