5 thoughts about Hawaii elections
by Rachelle Chang, Better Hawaii, August 26, 2014
I voted in Hawaii’s primary election. It would have been easier to vote by mail, but I like the experience of going to my neighborhood polling place. I like seeing all the other people who took the time to vote. I like the chance to talk to my 7-year old son about democracy and elections.
I’d like to share some of my thoughts on Hawaii elections:
1. Let’s have nonpartisan elections. I understand that this is a primary election, and the goal is to select the best candidate to represent a political party. But I don’t identify with a political party and sometimes the best candidates, in my opinion, do not belong to the same party. On a related note, the major news and radio could do a better job informing voters about all candidates, not just major party candidates.
I was so proud that my father voted for the first time. He wanted to support the candidate representing his district. However, he couldn’t vote for that candidate, because he was registered in a different political party.
2. Vote by Internet. The Office of Elections is working on vote by mail elections, but there could be problems with mail delivery, incorrect ballots that would have to be returned, and missing signatures on the envelopes. Instead, we could vote by Internet, just like we already do for neighborhood board elections. Like electronic machines, there would be step-by-step guides for selecting candidates and voting on issues. Voters without computers or Internet access could go a public library to vote.
By the way, I support ways to get more people to go to the library. Libraries, not shopping malls, are our best community centers – places for meetings, workshops, concerts, and lectures, as well as books and reading.
3. Resign to run candidates. Elected representatives should have to resign from their current positions to run for another elected office. It doesn’t seem fair to their constituents to campaign for another job, fail to get it, and then go back to work as usual. At most other jobs, job hunting is done covertly; but that’s not possible with elected representatives. How does losing an election affect their job performance or enthusiasm?
4. We need more information about Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) candidates. OHA should have mailed voters a candidate brochure, informing us about the candidates and what their responsibilities would be. They could have also used the mailer to tell voters what OHA has accomplished for Native Hawaiians – and Hawaii in general.
5. Should OHA representatives be appointed? I didn’t vote for OHA trustees, because I didn’t know anything about them. I know that I have a responsibility to find out about the candidates, and I didn’t do my homework. Maybe we need more knowledgeable people to choose OHA trustees, or at least a “candidate search” process that can help voters make good decisions.
Did you vote in Hawaii’s primary election? How would you improve the election process, and encourage more people to vote?