STAND. COM. REP. NO. 375
RE: S.B. No. 1561
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-Second State Legislature
Regular Session of 2023
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Judiciary, to which was referred S.B. No. 1561 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO ARTICLE II, SECTION 1, OF THE HAWAII STATE CONSTITUTION TO CHANGE THE AGE QUALIFICATION FOR VOTING IN STATE OR LOCAL ELECTIONS,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to propose a constitutional amendment to allow citizens who are seventeen years of age but will be eighteen years of age on or before the next general election to vote at the primary election immediately preceding the general election by which the citizen will attain the age of eighteen and any intervening or co-occurring special election.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from 350Hawaii and one individual. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from one individual. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of the Attorney General.
Your Committee finds that the age qualification to vote in any federal, state, or local election is eighteen years of age. However, for those individuals whose eighteenth birthday falls between a primary and general election, the current age restriction effectively prevents them from participating in state and local primary elections. Your Committee believes that providing these individuals with the ability to vote in the state and county primary elections and any intervening or co-occurring special election immediately preceding the state and county general election will give young individuals the opportunity to vote while still in high school, which will encourage greater civic engagement, voter turnout, and voter participation amongst the State's youth.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Incorporating changes proposed by the Department of the Attorney General that limit this measure to county and state elections;
(2) Amending section 1 to reflect its amended purpose; and
(3) 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. 1561, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 1561, 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,
KARL RHOADS, Chair