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Campaign Updates

| Strengthening Voting Rights and Democracy

Aloha State Welcomes Same-Day Voter Registration

April 30, 2014

Contact: TJ Helmstetter, Center for Popular Democracy
(973) 464-9224; tjhelm@populardemocracy.org

Hawaii Passes Same-Day Voter Registration in Move to Expand Electorate and Make Voting More Accessible

Hawaii to Become 13th State Plus District of Columbia to Allow SDR

(HONOLULU) – Both houses of the Hawaii legislature passed Same Day Registration (SDR) yesterday. The bill, HB2590, known locally as “Late Registration” will allow Hawaiians who missed the state’s 30-day voter registration deadline to register and vote during the state’s early voting period or on Election Day. The bill passed with 34 Ayes in the Senate, 40 Ayes in the House, and now goes to Governor Neil Abercrombie for his signature.

SDR is a proven means of increasing voter participation. States with SDR led the nation in voter turnout by 10 percentage points in the 2012 presidential election. It will help boost voting rates in Hawaii, the state with the lowest voter turnout rate in the country.

Today’s vote is the culmination of a long, multi-year effort. Led by Hawaii Common Cause, the legislative campaign was supported by a number of organizations representing Hawaii voters, including Faith Action for Community Equity (FACE), the Center for Popular Democracy’s state partner organization in Hawaii.

“The Center for Popular Democracy congratulates the people of the Aloha State for taking the next steps toward a more inclusive, popular democracy,” said Katrina Gamble, Director of Civic Engagement and Politics at the Center for Popular Democracy.

“Hawaii’s adoption of Same Day Registration sets out a clear alternative to the voter suppression policies enacted by reactionary legislatures in states like Arizona, North Carolina, and Texas. This will serve as a boon to efforts to expand the electorate across the country,” added Gamble.

“Arcane, outdated voting rules fall most heavily on young people, low-income citizens, and people of color – those with the lowest registration rate. Same Day Registration helps level the playing field for them by offering a major new opportunity to register to vote and participate in elections,” said Steven Carbó, Director of Voting Rights and Democracy Initiatives at the Center for Popular Democracy.

Over half a million eligible citizens didn’t vote in the 2012 presidential election in Hawaii. Many were just not registered to vote. Allowing voter registration on Election Day will give citizens a second chance to meet their civic duty and vote.