Saturday, October 23, 2021
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Groups Threaten Lawsuit over Lack of Polling Places
By News Release @ 2:29 PM :: 1327 Views :: Republican Party

Voting Rights Groups Demand State and County Clerks Bridge Gaps After Move to All Vote-By-Mail in 2020 Elections

News Release from Common Cause, July 27, 2020

HONOLULU –  Common Cause Hawaii, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and ACLU of Hawai’i Foundation demand that State Office of Elections and County Clerks bridge election gaps resulting from the new all vote-by-mail system rolled out this year for the August primary and November general elections. The voting rights groups are represented at this stage by Jeffrey Portnoy of the Cades Schutte law firm.

Earlier this year, election officials reduced vote centers from 250 to only eight statewide -- two on Oahu and Hawaii Island and one each on Kauai, Maui, Molokai, Kauai, and Lanai Islands. These vote centers allow the public to vote in-person, drop off their ballots, register to vote on the same day, and more. This is the first time Hawaii will be voting by mail without traditional polling sites.

The demand letter sent today says, in part:

Rising unemployment in Hawaii will likely lead to increased transience and dislocation. As residents are either forced or decide to move from their homes, it will be harder for them to receive ballots mailed to their addresses on file. This is especially true of younger voters with less permanent residences, such as college students who have been forced to leave their on-campus housing. Many people experiencing homelessness in Hawaii have no access to personal mail services and can only cast their ballot through in-person voting at a VSC. Furthermore, voters with disabilities may have their ballots sent to them electronically, but not every voter with a disability has access to a computer, printer, and internet connection and will need to vote in person. These voters and voters in dense urban communities will be forced to crowd into one or two VSCs per island, waiting in line for hours, risking their health and the health of their families in order to exercise their right to vote.

Among Hawaii’s rural populations, many voters do not have home mailboxes and do not receive personal mail delivery services. Instead, under the current proclamation, these voters may be forced to travel for hours in order to reach the nearest VSC. To exacerbate this burden, once at the VSC these rural voters will be similarly subjected to long lines and crowding that place their health and the health of their families in jeopardy. Crowding at VSCs will also put poll workers at greater risk by greatly increasing the number of persons with whom they must interact.

Moving entirely to vote-by-mail without providing ample vote service centers is a major endeavor. Hawaii voters need more than eight vote centers statewide that will be open more convenient hours. The Hawaii State Office of Elections and County Clerks should not risk long lines at vote centers as Hawaii will likely be voting during the ongoing pandemic. 

The following quotes and attributions may be used in your coverage of this important issue.

“The move to Vote-by-Mail is an important step for Hawaii but we must take that step wisely. There are significant numbers of people who will need access to vote centers and we cannot increase participation by ignoring the needs of people in Hawaii with disabilities, or who are temporarily displaced or experiencing homelessness due to high unemployment expected to continue. Most importantly, we don’t want people in Hawaii to have to choose between their health and casting a ballot during the coronavirus pandemic. Increasing the number of vote centers and hours they operate will allow people to spread out and cast their vote safely in person if necessary.”

Sandy Ma, Executive Director of Common Cause Hawaii

“The state of Hawaii has numerous options to provide all citizens the ability to vote in person or by mail but instead has chosen the most limited and potentially harmful choice during a pandemic,” said Natasha Chabria, voting rights fellow, at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “The more options a state like Hawai’i can provide to registered voters, the safer the state’s voting will be, and this includes those who administer elections and poll workers. Hawai’i recently reported its highest single-day total for coronavirus cases so now is not the time to reduce polling stations and further cloister citizens together when safer options are available.”

Natasha Chabria, Voting Rights Fellow at Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

“The right to vote is our most cherished constitutional right because it protects and preserves all other rights. Cades Schutte LLP is proud to work with our clients on this critical issue and advocate for those citizens who may not get to exercise this most fundamental right in November.”

Jeffrey Portnoy, Attorney at Cades Schutte LLP

And please click here for a link to the entire demand letter sent by Mr. Portnoy!

---30---

HTH: Group seeks more voter service centers

MN: Groups call for better access for rural and displaced voters

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

ACA Signups Hawaii

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Back da Blue Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

ChinaTownWatch.com

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Life Alliance

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

HIEC.Coop

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT