Cross-posted with Honolulu Coffee Party Examiner
With the winner of Hawaii’s 1st CD special election likely to be announced Saturday, it is time to look back at the campaign. Keeping with the theme of voter turnout and voter education, all signs point to another disappointing turnout for the all mail-in ballot election. As of the time of publishing, less than 50% of the ballots have been received by the Hawaii Office of Elections. This number does not account for those who chose to utilize the walk-in voting machines at Honolulu Hale. Even if more ballots flood the Office of Elections, it is likely that the final number of voters will be less than 65%. If that number seems low, it is! Either way, the winner of the election will be hard pressed to announce their win was a mandate delivered by Hawaii’s voters.
Let’s take a closer look at the 65% number. It is important to make two distinctions at this point. First, the term “eligible voters” mean those citizens that meet the criteria set forth by the State of Hawaii to participate in the election process. “Eligible voters” are of at least 18 years of age and are U.S. citizens. Second, the term “registered voter” describes the citizens that have registered in their district to vote. “Registered voters” have filed the appropriate paperwork needed to become part of the electorate. They are registered in their district and can only vote in their district. It becomes apparent that to become a “registered voter’ you must be eligible to vote.
Having settled that confusion, the 65% number should begin to look horrible. Using basic math skills(who knew I had some of that!), if there are 100,000 “eligible voters” in Hawaii, but only 60% of them are “registered voters”, that leaves us with only 60,000 possible voters for a given election. However, there has never been an election where we have witnessed a 100% voter turnout. Taking the 65% number and applying that to the “registered voters”, we end up with merely, 39,000 voter turnout. That would result in an election that affects all citizens being decided by about 1/3 of the citizens.
There is little excuse not to vote. Sites like Project Vote Smart are available to research candidates. Even quick Google searches of a specific candidate will point you to available resources on their background and campaign pledges. Registering to vote is easier than filling out most job applications. The State of Hawaii offers quick and easy registration via a Wiki Wiki Voter Registration. The actual voting isn’t that difficult either. Can’t leave work or won’t get off in time? There are absentee ballots available that can be filled out at home and mailed in. During general elections, there are also machines available prior to the actual election that can be found at various locations. The people in charge of running the elections have made it easy for everyone to get involved. Are you willing to let a minority make decisions for the rest of us? Is that really democracy?
Get Informed and Get Involved!