Election officials hope same-day registration will lead to bigger voter turnout


A big change is coming in how we register to vote, and it’s supposed to make it easier for people to cast a ballot.

The change will go into effect during Hawaii’s primary election, which will be held Aug. 11.

For the first time ever, Hawaii voters will be able to go to their polling place, register to vote, and cast a ballot on the same day.

Chief elections officer Scott Nago is hoping this latest change in voter registration laws, allowing same-day voter registration at polling places, will encourage more people to get out and vote.

“This is the last barrier to actually registering and voting,” he said.

With the new law in place, all you need is a driver’s license or state ID at the polling place and you can register and vote the same day.

But you do have to make sure you’re in the right place.

Alex Santiago, former chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, says he supports anything that gets people to the polls and involved in the election process, but also adds the push can’t stop at registration.

“What we try to do is say okay, if we can then encourage people to run for office, who would encourage others to get involved? And so the Pono Policy Academy is about training potential candidates who don’t know how to run otherwise,” he explained.

Santiago says the hope is that his Pono Policy Academy will encourage people to run who might have stayed away in the past.

He also hopes younger voters will continue to engage.

“I think they are realizing after there is a lot of attention after the presidential campaign, they’re realizing policy really affects their lives at the deepest level,” Santiago said. “I think that realization for this generation is going to result in their civic engagement. I hope so.”

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