Bills to Watch, Part 2: Ruderman’s Proposed Election Reforms

In addition to the bills he’s co-sponsoring with Rep. Laura Thielen, which the Chronicle covered in an earlier piece,   State Senator Russell Ruderman is sponsoring a suit of his own bills related to elections, sunshine laws and good government.  A number of these were inspired by the problems that occurred when elections were held in the wake of the Tropical Storm Iselle last year.

All of these bills have already passed first readings and have been assigned to committees. Constituents can track the bills and file testimony related to them at  URLs linked below:

SB 317RELATING TO THE HAWAII BUSINESS CORPORATION ACT. Would require corporations to notify shareholders before engaging in political activities.

SB577: RELATING TO CAMPAIGN FINANCE. Requires any fees assessed by the campaign spending commission to be deposited into the Hawaii election campaign fund. Requires that general funds, rather than moneys from the Hawaii election campaign fund, be used for the operating expenses of the campaign spending commission. Authorizes the campaign spending commission to use moneys from the Hawaii election campaign fund for investigation expenses.

SB578: RELATING TO ELECTIONS.  Enables the Hawaii State Office of Elections to implement elections by mail in any interested county, beginning with the 2016 primary election. By 2018, requires all federal, state, and county primary, special primary, general, special general, and special elections to be conducted by mail. Enables absentee walk-in voting to continue prior to election day. Ensures limited polling sites in each county remain open on election day for absentee walk-in voting and to receive mail-in ballots. Appropriates funds for the implementation and administration of the election by mail program.

SB597:  RELATING TO ELECTIONS.  Requires the chief election officer or county clerk to exercise existing powers to postpone an election in affected precincts when the right to vote is substantially impaired due to an emergency or natural disaster. Prohibits the distribution of results from any precinct, whether or not designated for postponement, until after the final closing of the polls for an election postponed due to an emergency or disaster.

SB599:  RELATING TO ELECTIONS.  Authorizes the elections commission to remove the chief election officer by a majority vote of a quorum at a meeting of the commission. Provides the chief election officer with a period of notice of the removal before it takes effect.

SB602: RELATING TO PARTIAL PUBLIC FINANCING  [of election campaigns]. Amends the partial public financing laws to amend the maximum amount of public funds available in each election to a candidate for the office of governor, lieutenant governor, or mayor to not exceed 50 per cent of the established expenditure limit for each election; and increase the matching contribution amount from the State from $1 for each $1 of qualifying contributions to $2 for each $1 of qualifying contributions in excess of the minimum qualifying contribution amounts. Makes an appropriation to increase funds available to candidates participating in the partial public funding program.

SB603: RELATING TO CAMPAIGN FINANCE. Creates a public funding program for elections to the state house of representatives. Excludes from the partial public financing program candidates for the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, state senator, and state representative pertaining to campaign expenditure limits, maximum amounts of public funding, and minimum amounts of qualifying contributions. Appropriates funds for the implementation of the public funding program.





7 replies
  1. John
    John says:

    How come he’s not trying to repeal Hawaii’s voter ID law? Requiring voters to show ID is racist and voter suppression, I hear. Or does it only work that way on the mainland, somehow?

  2. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    At the last election I refused to show ID, only presenting my “yellow card”.
    My behavior annoyed one poll worker but I voted with my signature and without an ID.
    State by state.
    Not that Hawaii is legally the USA.

  3. John
    John says:

    Not sure what a yellow card means, but you believe the poll workers should just take everybody’s word that they are who they say they are? You believe that showing ID is objectively a bad thing?

  4. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    ID requirement has been one of several mechanism in some states to restrict voting for some people, like the elderly and poor, shifting participation. The state of Hawaii, as was the case most everywhere, does not require ID, only one’s signature. There has been no voter fraud found with this system.
    Election officials mail a yellow card to registered voters with polling place address and various districts info.

  5. John
    John says:

    The Office of Elections website says specifically that the Voter Registration Notice is not an acceptable form of identification.

  6. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    Verify your identity. In order to expedite voting at your polling place, please be prepared to verify your identity, preferably with a photo ID. In the alternative, you can provide a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and address. From gov’t website;

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