State of Elections

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Tag: Hawaii

How to Help the Homeless Vote in Hawaii

By: Avery Dobbs

The state of Hawaii has had the lowest voter turnout rate in the country in the past five presidential election cycles. While the reasons for low turnout rates are nuanced and multifactor, it is safe to say that at least part of the problem is inaccessibility of the polls for Hawaii’s many homeless residents. Hawaii currently has the highest rate of homelessness per capita in America with over seven thousand homeless residents in the state. Homeless residents are extremely vulnerable to public regulations but often have a limited say in decision making due to impediments to voting while homeless. While the only legal requirements for voting in Hawaii are 1) being properly registered to vote, 2) being a U.S. citizen and resident of Hawaii, and 3) being over the age of 18, the issue for homeless voters is how to register to vote without having an address or a photo ID. Continue reading

Hawaii Election Challenged with Fifteen Amendment Claims

By: Andrew Lowy

A Hawaii election has put the Fifteenth Amendment in an interesting spotlight. Hawaii’s Act 195, passed in 2011, authorized the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission to compile a list of Native Hawaiians who would later be able to organize themselves as a new nation of Native Hawaiians. This new Hawaiian nation would be similar to already existing Native American nations. Now, Justice Kennedy has issued an order temporarily blocking the counting of ballots in an election proposing to start the process of creating the Native Hawaiian nation.

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Native-Hawaiian Self Determination Election Survives Equal Protection Challenge

By: Mollie Topic

In October 2015, a U.S. district judge sitting in Honolulu denied a motion for preliminary injunction to halt an election that is open only to Native Hawaiians. The litigation in Akina v. Hawaii arises out of the Nai Aupuni election, an election process that is ultimately designed to help Native Hawaiians achieve self-determination.

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HI: Pay-to-Play Law is A-OK in the Aloha State

By: Mary C. Topic

Pay-to-play laws have risen in prominence in recent years, particularly after Citizens United came down. Pay-to-play laws regulate campaign contributions from government contractors, frequently by taking the form of prohibitions on the award of contracts to those who have made campaign contributions. In enacting such statutes, legislatures seek to combat both actual incidences of corruption, as well as the appearance of corruption.

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A series of tubes: Transmitting ballots via the Internet

by Anthony Balady

The Internet is a strange and unpredictable place, filled with cats playing keyboard and Rick Astley videos. It’s the kind of place you wouldn’t want your ballot floating around without protection. So, ever since the widespread adoption of electronic voting machines, voters and election administrators alike have feared for the safety of votes traveling through the Internet tubes.

Five voters in Hawaii, concerned about the accuracy and safety of electronically transmitted ballots, filed suit against Chief Election Officer Kevin Cronin to prevent the use of electronic voting machines in the 2010 elections. The suit, Babson v. Cronin, resulted from the Hawaii Office of Election’s decision to use Direct-Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines in the 2010 elections. DRE voting machines eliminate the need for paper ballots by storing the vote electronically. In some DRE machines, the vote is stored on a physical device, like a flash drive, and then physically taken to a central vote tabulation machine.  In other DRE machines, like those used in Hawaii, the vote is transmitted electronically through an Internet style network. Continue reading

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