[Image courtesy of all-flags-world]
Last week, Hawaii became the latest state to launch its online voter registration (OVR) system. KHON-TV had the story:
The state Office of Elections and Offices of the City/County Clerks announced today that residents are now able to register to vote online.
In 2012, the legislature passed HB1755 that required an electronic voter registration system to be set up for the 2016 primary election.
$500,000 was appropriated to build the system.
Governor Neil Abercrombie signed the bill into law (Act 225) on July 5, 2012.
The service is only open to residents with a Hawaii driver’s license or state ID, and allows voters to update their information and request a permanent absentee ballot.
The online system uses the same verification process as paper applications, which are still available for residents that do not have a driver’s license or state ID.
The online voter registration system can be found at https://olvr.hawaii.gov/.
You can find more information on this new service and voting in Hawaii at the Office of Election’s website at http://elections.hawaii.gov/.
The announcement comes more than three years after the legislature enacted OVR and almost two years after the City of Honolulu declined to assist the state with OVR implementation, in essence saying mahalo ʻa’ohe (“no thanks”) to requests to help get the system online. Here’s what the Honolulu Civil Beat had to say back then:
Honolulu has declined to collaborate with the state on its new online voter registration system.
Since the city is already managing the state ID system and processing state driver’s licenses — key databases for verifying voter identification — state officials were hoping the city might be inclined to help implement the new registration system, too.
The state Office of Elections is going to have to find a way to get the new system up and running on its own. The office has until the 2016 primary election to do so, as mandated by a law Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed in 2012.
Scott Nago, Hawaii elections chief, told lawmakers in April that he asked the city to enter into a memorandum of agreement to work with his office to ensure that the new online system is ready in time.
The city, he lamented, has “other commitments” that prevent it from helping.
The state persevered, however, and now Hawaiians can register to vote and get a wide range of election information online. It’s a huge step forward, but it’s a reminder that the path from enactment to implementation of any election change – but especially OVR – is far from instantaneous. Kudos to the state election office for making it to this point before its deadline … now, of course, the focus will turn to how well the system works as the Aloha State enters the 2016 election cycle.