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Automatic voting registration in hopes to increase voter turnout

Mikaella Liban

Automatic Voter Registration will likely increase Hawaii’s voter turnout, which is at an all-time low.

It is why lawmakers should support Common Cause Hawaii’s push to allow citizens who apply for a driver’s license to automatically be registered to vote.

The lowest voter turnout for Hawaii was just this year, in which an appalling 34 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in the August primary elections.

Corie Tanida, executive director for Common Cause Hawaii, said that implementing automatic voter registration will greatly increase the rate of Hawaii’s voter registration — and that is desperately needed.

Citizens who apply for a driver’s license in Hawaii will be automatically registered to vote, unless they decline. This way, it will modernize the process to transmit voter information rather than having it paper-based, where it can be a hassle to physically hand it in. Non-U.S citizens will not be able to vote.

Common Cause hopes to pass automatic voter registration in the 2017 state legislative session. Having residents registered electronically via the driver’s licensing process will make the system both accurate and efficient.

Lawmakers should be alarmed at the extremely low voter turnout, and make efforts to increase participation. Oregon, California, Vermont, West Virginia and Connecticut passed laws mandating automatic voter registration. Hawaii should be added to that list.

Citizens should take part in voting, as it is a crucial act to do so in America.

“Everyone’s voice is heard, and every American has equal access to the ballot box,” Tanida said. Hawaii must reduce the barriers to voting and allow for automatic voter registration.

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