How to Conduct a Voter Registration Drive & Why You Should Vote

headshot beach4The other day I read a funny quote: “If you ever think you’re too small to have an impact, try sleeping with a mosquito in the room.” That made me think of many people who believe their vote doesn’t count, which could explain why 80% of Waianae Coast residents don’t vote! There are so many reasons why your vote REALLY DOES count.

We always hear the complaint that “nobody cares about Waianae” and that “Waianae doesn’t get anything.” Well, have you ever seen the voter turnout in Kailua, Hawaii Kai, and those other places that seem to get everything? You guessed it — it’s high. And when communities vote, and resources are limited, and politicians need to get re-elected, guess where those resources are going to end up? It’s a no-brainer.

And if that’s not enough to convince you, try watching election results, especially in smaller House races. Here on the Coast, we’ve had House races won by very small margins of less than 50 votes. Representative Roy Takumi once won an election by 3 votes. Can you imagine if those 3 people thought that they were “too small to have an impact”?

Nowadays voting is easier than ever since we have instituted early walk-in and permanent absentee voting. This means you can register to have a ballot mailed to you every election, which includes a self-addressed, stamped envelope. No more waiting in line at the polls!

Voter registration forms are located at public libraries, post offices, satellite city halls, state agencies, city clerks offices, in phone books, and at Elections Home Page, Office of Elections, State of Hawaii.

Groups, organizations, and even elected officials can run voter registration drives without having to undergo any formal training. It is critical that the groups safeguard completed voter registration forms and submit them to the Office of Elections or City/County Clerks Offices as soon as possible. Call 453-VOTE for more information.

I received the following additional information from a staff member from the Office of Elections:

I’d like to direct you to an article that provides a few good points for organizations/individuals looking to conduct voter registration drives. It also provides background information on why the Deputy Voter Registrar program ended.

http://archives.starbulletin.com/content/20100115_Deputy_registrars_voted_out_of_the_voter_process.

As stated in the article, election officials “recommend voter registrants either bring in the registration form themselves or mail it in.” This guarantees that no third party will have access to the individual’s confidential information on the application, such as social security number.

Also mentioned, election officials do not discourage groups or individuals from conducting voter registration drives. We just have to emphasize that the individuals are not agents of the State. If an individual wishes to trust someone to take their form and drop it off with the City/County Clerk, it is a matter between the individual and the group conducting the voter registration activity.

For elected officials seeking to conduct voter registration, the above comments would apply. However, you may wish to check…that there are no internal…rules that somehow impact you. We also want to point out, for any groups/individuals distributing voter registration forms, that our administrative rules provide that the voter registration form “shall not be included in, attached, or affixed to any campaign or informational literature unrelated to voter registration” (HAR § 3-172-23[a][2]).

Please feel free to contact the Office of Elections should you have any further questions, at 453-8683.

Click image to go to the No Vote No Grumble site.

Click to go to this site.

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