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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, May 9, 2002

This year's candidates can rock the vote

Nearly every elected office is up for grabs this year, and virtually every district boundary has been redrawn. Given the potential for chaos à la Florida 2000, Hawai'i voters need clear guidance before they cast their ballots into the political tides.

Yet the state Office of Elections has only $25,000 to spend on educating some 400,000 voters. That's hardly enough to rock the vote. Elections officials had asked for $200,000 to spend on brochures, advertising, an expanded Web site and demonstrations of voting machines in shopping malls.

But with mailing and distribution costs likely to soak up a major chunk of their budget, it might be more prudent for elections officials to concentrate on developing a comprehensive Web site with information on where to vote, how to vote, where to register and much more.

At that point, we call on the candidates to step in and help spread the information. They're reaching out to the electorate anyway, so why not be useful? For example, they can print out the Web site voter information and distribute it to their constituents, either mailing it with their campaign literature, handing it out as they go door to door, or disbursing it at candidate forums.

Now, we're not talking about sending absentee ballot applications attached to campaign literature because that's against the law.

What we're advocating is that candidates play a greater role in voter education and boost Hawai'i's low voter turnout. What do they have to lose?