Opinion Letter No. 04-11
June 30, 2004
Personal Information of Petition and Nominating Paper Signatorties
The Hawaii County Clerk requested an opinion of the
OIP regarding whether the public has a right to inspect and copy
petitions which contain personal information of signers under the
Hawaii County requires initiative and charter amendment
petitioners to collect information from petition signatories. Section
12-3(a)(5), HRS, requires nominating paper signatories to provide
similar information: names, signatures, dates of birth, social security
numbers, and home addresses.
The petitioners who collect signatures are not government
employees and do not generally provide signatories with any type
of notice regarding whether collection of the social security numbers
is mandatory or voluntary, or what use may be made of the social
The OIP opined that the County Clerk may withhold
signatories’ street addresses, social security numbers, and
dates of birth based on the UIPA’s privacy exception, section
The OIP was also asked whether the UIPA prevents the
County Clerk from requiring petitioners to collect social security
numbers from signatories, as required by the Hawaii County Charter
for initiative or referendum petitions and by the Hawaii Revised
Statutes for candidate nominating papers.
The OIP opined that the UIPA does not specifically
address what information may be collected by a government agency.
However, the requirement that petitioners collect social security
numbers may be imputed to the county or the state, and may violate
the federal Privacy Act, the federal Constitution, or both.
The OIP therefore advised the County Clerk to consult
with Corporation Counsel regarding whether it should enforce the
social security number collection requirements.