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Responsive Gov’s Grade TL;DR

The Hawaii State Legislature added a few clarifying amendments to its election laws this past session after implementing several substantial pro-voter pieces of legislation over the past few years. However, the state failed to pass legislation that would further streamline their new AVR system. The minor improvements Hawaii did make earned them a B on this year’s progress report.

Looking Back

Where Hawaii Started at the Beginning of 2023

  • Automatic Voter Registration: Partial AVR
  • Online Voter Registration: DMV ID
  • Same-Day Registration: Yes
  • Restoration of Rights: Prison Disenfranchisement
  • Vote by Mail: Vote By Mail
  • Electronic Registration Information Center Participation: No
  • Early Voting Opportunities: Regular Ballot Early Voting
  • ID Requirements: ID Requested, but not Required

Relying on the Cost of Voting Index for Hawaii as of 2022, we considered the state a top tier state for pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2023 activity against other top tier states.

How Our Tier Compares

  • COVI (2022): 4th
  • EPI Score (2020): 29th
  • CLC State Scorecard (2022): 8/10
  • MAP Democracy Rating (2022): MEDIUM

2023: This Past Year

Legislative Action

The Hawaii Legislature made only minimal, clarifying changes to its election laws during this past session.

  • SB 19 made minor corrections to the universal vote by mail law to clarify that when an eligible voter casts a ballot it cannot become invalid solely because the voter later becomes ineligible to vote, such as by death.
  • HB 130 clarifies that election officials have until 5 business days after an election to verify voters’ ballots instead of 7 calendar days.
  • SB 1541 revises existing felony voting laws to clarify that voting more than once in an election applies to elections in Hawaii or any other state or territory.
  • Although the Legislature recently implemented its new automatic voter registration system, it also failed to pass legislation this past session that would have created a more streamlined process.
    • SB 383 would have made the new AVR system explicitly an opt-out system.