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Pass Automatic Voter Registration

In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, Hawaii instituted for the first time ever, an all mail-in voting system which resulted in the state recording its highest rate of voter participation since 1994. Last year, Maui County tallied a 42.7 percent voter turnout at the primary and a 66.4 percent turnout at the general election — a respective increase of 6.5 percent and 14 percent from the previous election.

Surely other factors influenced voter motivation in 2020, but the transition to an all mail-in ballot system was likely the largest contributor to the record turnout. Although this boost is encouraging, Hawaii’s voter turnout rates still score among the lowest in the nation. But just because some people don’t vote, does not mean that they do not care. In many cases, it is just not a high priority as people struggle to make ends meet and take care of their families. Many people also forget to update their voter registration when their address or personal information changes — which is especially important now that all ballots will be distributed through the U.S. Postal Service, with fewer options for walk-in voting.

Automatic Voter Registration will allow residents to register to vote or to update their information when they go to the DMV, alleviating the need for a separate process and improving efficiency. Furthermore, I believe that Automatic Voter Registration will encourage more of our Molokai residents to become engaged in electing our state leaders and participate in testifying on important bills that touch our lives. For those reasons, I urge Governor Ige to sign Automatic Voter Registration into law without delay.

Mahina Poepoe

Molokai Resident

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