Honolulu, Hawaii



RE:    S.B. No. 2496

       S.D. 2




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Twenty-Eighth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2016

State of Hawaii




     Your Committee on Ways and Means, to which was referred S.B. No. 2496, S.D. 1, entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose and intent of this measure is to reduce logistical issues related to conducting elections.


     Specifically, this measure:


     (1)  Beginning with the primary election in 2018, requires the Office of Elections to implement an election by mail voting system in a county with a population of less than 100,000;


     (2)  Beginning with the 2020 primary election, requires the Office of Elections to implement an election by mail voting system statewide for all elections;


     (3)  Establishes an elections by mail system, including requirements for ballots, replacement ballots, deficient return of ballots, ballot counting, voter service centers, places of deposit, and election expenses and responsibilities;


     (4)  Establishes procedures for postponed elections;


     (5)  Makes conforming amendments to existing laws relating to elections to reflect and implement an elections by mail system;


     (6)  Allows for the electronic transmission of mail-in ballots under certain exigent circumstances;


     (7)  Appropriates funds for the implementation and administration of the elections by mail system; and


     (8)  Requires the Office of Elections to submit annual reports to the Legislature from 2017 to 2023 regarding the implementation of the elections by mail system.


     Your Committee received written comments in support of this measure from the Office of Elections; Office of Hawaiian Affairs; Office of the County Clerk, County of Kauai; Office of the County Clerk, County of Maui; Common Cause Hawaii; and one individual.


     Your Committee finds that Hawaii has been trending towards increased mail-in voting.  The 2014 Hawaii primary election was the first election in which more ballots were voted early than were cast on primary election day.  Your Committee also finds that converting to an elections by mail voting system would significantly reduce logistical issues.  Your Committee believes that an incremental implementation of an election by mail voting system would be the best approach for the State to transition to elections by mail.


     Your Committee has amended this measure by:


     (1)  Clarifying that county clerks, rather than the Chief Election Officer, shall be responsible for designating places of deposit; and


     (2)  Changing the effective date to July 1, 2076, to facilitate further discussion on the measure.


     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Ways and Means that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 2496, S.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Third Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 2496, S.D. 2.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Ways and Means,