Friday, July 24, 2020
Civil Rights Attorneys Call on Maui County to Address Voter Disenfranchisement Concerns
Via attorney Lance Collins:
Maui attorney Lance D. Collins, on behalf of unsheltered houseless registered voters, and the ACLU of Hawai'i are calling on the Maui election officials to address problems related to voter disenfranchisement concerns with the new voting system.
The County is implementing the new 'mail-in' voting system. For individuals who do not have a permanent address and are unable to obtain a post office box, the only service available to them is "general delivery." However, because of the limited resources of the postal service, an individual may only obtain "general delivery" for 30 days in any 12 month period. This forces such registered voters to choose between having a ballot delivered for the primary or for the general election, but not both.
The alternative is to go to the one voting service center in Maui, the Velma McWayne Santos Wailuku Community Center. For individuals of limited means, this puts a monetary cost to getting transported to the site that more affluent voters do not face. Additionally, for individuals in more remote areas such as East Maui, Kahikinui and Honokohau, where there is limited or no home mail delivery service, getting to Wailuku is also a significant burden.
The civil rights attorneys are calling on the County of Maui to open additional voting service centers in Hana and Lahaina as well as to waive the return trip fare on the Maui Bus for those registered voters in Central Maui, Upcountry, South Maui and Haiku/Paia who travel to voting service centers.
"The mail-in voting system has greatly simplified the logistics of our election system. Yet, the benefit of those efficiencies are nullified where rural and economically disadvantaged voters are deprived of their right to vote." said attorney Lance D. Collins.