Elections Review Task Force

 

The complete report in PDF format.

 

Appointing Authorities & Task Force Members

Task Force Chair
Dwayne D. Yoshina

Appointing Authority
Governor - Benjamin J. Cayetano

Task Force Members
Ken Hashimoto
Daryl Yamamoto

Appointing Authority
President of the Senate-
Robert Bunda

Task Force Members
Annelle Amaral
Jean Aoki

Appointing Authority
Speaker of the House of
Representative -
Calvin K.Y Say

Task Force Members
Dennis Kam
Thomas Yamashiro

Appointing Authority
Senate Minority Leader-
Sam Slom

Task Force Members
James Hall

Appointing Authority
House of Representative
Minority Leader-
Galen Fox

Task Force Members
Kitty Lagareta

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

I.                  BACKGROUND

Act 139, Regular Session of 2001, was signed into law by the Governor on May 24, 2001.  The purpose of the Act was to establish the Elections Review Task Force to comprehensively review, evaluate, and recommend changes to Hawaii's election laws regarding vote tabulation, with particular consideration of automatic recounts and contest procedures, to ensure the integrity and certainty of the State's electoral process.

The Chairperson originally planned to conduct public meetings statewide to gather input, comments, concerns, and suggestions regarding Hawaii's voting system and election laws.  Due to the circumstances related to the appointment of members to the task force, much of the early focus of the task force was directed towards developing proposed recount legislation before the deadline to submit legislation for the 2002 Regular Session.

The Task Force met from December 10, 2001 to April 29, 2002, holding 16 Regular Meetings.  The following summarizes the actions and items discussed by the Task Force.

II.                 RECOUNT LEGISLATION

After review and discussion, the Task Force believes that recounts could help to build voter confidence in the system.  It concluded that the establishment of an automatic recount provision may provide the public with further assurance and confidence that the outcomes of contests with small vote differences are validated.  It may foster the development of a sense of ownership amongst the general public.  Furthermore, Task Force members noted that bipartisan participation through an Official Observer's Program ensures the conduct of an election is implemented in an impartial and secure manner.

The proposed automatic recount legislation includes the following provisions:

A.        Conduct automatic recounts by machine rather than by manual recount.

B.        Amending HRS to provide for automatic recounts.

C.        Conduct automatic recounts when the results between the two leading candidates are less that one-eighth of one per cent of the ballots cast for statewide contests and one-fourth of one per cent of the ballots cast for all other contests.

D.        Changing the date of the primary election to the second Saturday in August.

E.        Amending contest provision in HRS to differentiate automatic recounts from elections contest.

III.               ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE TASK FORCE

A.                The Task Force discussed and supported recommendations for Legislative consideration of the following:

1.                  Require State Senate and State House candidates be qualified voters of the districts they wish to represent prior to filing nomination papers.

2.                  Allow the Chief Election Officer, or County Clerk in the case of County Elections, the option to conduct all-mail elections, for elections not held in conjunction with a regularly scheduled primary or general election.

B.                The Task Force made the following administrative recommendation for implementation by the Office of Elections:

·                    Extend the "challenged ballot" procedures to voters whose voter registration is in question.

IV.             ADDITIONAL DISCUSSION ISSUES

Realizing that the Task Force could not fully deliberate and finalize recommendations on a number of other issues important to the members, the Task Force submits these issues for future consideration by the Legislature.  While no formal action was taken on the following issues, the Task Force submits the following items for Legislative consideration.

A.                To conduct a study on voters and voting in Hawaii.

B.                Printing and posting the election results of the individual polling place at the close of the polls to validate results and provide information to the general public.

C.                Allow for voter registration on Election Day.

D.                Codify the validation procedures currently in Administrative Rules into the Hawaii Revised Statues.

E.                Codify roles for the Official Observers in Statute.

F.                 Define what constitutes a valid vote.

G.                Extend protections afforded to voters voting at the polling place to voters who vote by absentee ballot, in particular, the prohibition of voting assistance provided by a voter's employer, union, or their agents.

H.                Establish provision in HRS for the State of Hawaii to conduct a Presidential Preference Primary Election to nominate the candidates who will appear on the General Election Ballot.

I.                    Establish a provision in the statutes for the Chief Elections Officer to request an investigation of potential mail absentee voter fraud should certain statistical anomalies appear in the final vote tally.

V.              ISSUES RAISED BY PUBLIC TESTIMONY

A.                To repeal section 11-72 (4), HRS, which states, “The chairperson of the precinct officials shall be of the same party as the governor and shall be the first named precinct official on the list prepared by the chief election officer.”

B.                To develop a Voter Guide that can focus on candidate profiles and how to cast a proper ballot.

 
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