In 2021, Hawaii passed legislation enacting automatic voter registration as well as additional registration and election administration improvements. In 2022, the Legislature passed additional pro-voter legislation to make ballots more accessible to voters with limited English proficiency, and administratively, the state implemented its AVR policy. However, during implementation there were a few bumps in the road, where the state implemented a less streamlined version of a voter registration system than originally envisioned in the legislation. Due to this in combination with the numerous positive pro-voter efforts in the last two years, Hawaii received a B+ on this year’s progress report.
Where Hawaii Started in 2020
- Automatic Voter Registration: Hard Stop
- Online Voter Registration: DMV ID
- Same-Day Registration: Yes
- Restoration of Rights: Prison Disenfranchisement
- Vote by Mail: Vote By Mail
- Electronic Registration Information Center Participation: No
- Early Voting Opportunities: Regular Ballot Early Voting
ID Requirements: ID Requested, but not Required
Relying on the Cost of Voting Index for Hawaii as of 2020, we considered the state a top tier state for pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2021-22 activity against other top tier states.
How Our Tier Compares:
2021: Two Years Ago
During the 2021 session, the Hawaii Legislature passed two important pro-voter laws that make registration and voting more efficient and accessible for all.
- S 159 allows citizens to automatically register to vote or update existing registrations when they apply for new or renewal driver’s license or state IDs at Hawaii DMV offices. Individuals that provide documentation establishing non-citizenship will not be offered the opportunity to register to vote.
- S 548 allows counties to expand voter service center options, allows ballot processing and tabulation to start 18 days before the election, and requires DPS to inform citizens on parole or probation of their voting rights, among other things.
2022: This Past Year
Although the Hawaii Legislature passed only one new election law during session, it was an important pro-voter policy that will make ballots more accessible to voters with limited English proficiency.
- H 1883 requires mail ballot packages to include instructions on how to access ballot language translation services directly on the exterior of the envelopes. Instructions must be provided in Hawaiian and at least the five foreign languages that are most used by persons with limited English proficiency in the state.
- Hawaii went live with its new AVR system in January 2022, which implemented a less streamlined version of a voter registration system than originally envisioned in the legislation. They made additional administration improvements including incorporating voter registration through change of address applications, which had not been uniformly implemented previously.