“My daddy changed the world!” – Gianna Floyd
As of this writing, the Black Lives Matter protests have reached global proportions. Peaceful protests demanding justice have emerged in all 50 states, at least 50 countries, and across six continents. In Honolulu an estimated 10,000 people gathered at the Capitol on June 6th to show solidarity with the BLM movement. Many legislators have also shown their support and have committed to prioritize systemic change in law enforcement after the murder of George Floyd.
But other elected officials have not. Now is the time to stand up and be heard – in the streets and with our ballots. We need elected officials who are accountable; public servants who will represent and serve us.
Hawaiʻi is one of just five states implementing a universal mail-in ballot process this year, making it easy and safe to vote. If you are currently registered to vote you will automatically receive a ballot in the mail around July 21st. Voters in other states are not so lucky. In 16 states, absentee voters must provide a valid excuse to vote by mail. In Atlanta, Georgia, last month, voters waited more than eight hours to cast their ballot at the polls. Many states are currently scrambling to adjust to the increased need for absentee ballots, given health concerns related to the ongoing pandemic.
By comparison, Hawaiʻi has been preparing for elections by mail for more than a year.
Although the President has tweeted that elections by mail are “substantially fraudulent,” scientific data does not support his claim. In fact, the data suggests that mail-in voting may actually be more secure.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Election Data and Science Lab analyzed twenty years of election data and some 250 million ballots. They found that the potential for mail-in voter fraud affected no more than 0.00006% of the total vote. And a recent analysis by the Washington Post of potential mail-in voter fraud suggested a potential negative effect on just 0.0025% of the votes.
Thus, based on the data, mail-in ballots are neither fraudulent nor a threat to our free elections. In fact, vote-by-mail supports fair, accessible democratic elections and helps to ensure that all eligible citizens can participate in the voting process.
The deadline to register to vote in the Primary Election is July 9th. Visit olvr.hawaii.gov to register to vote, to update your existing voter registration, or to confirm your voter registration address. Keep in mind that the postal service cannot forward ballots, so it is important to ensure that your current mailing address is correct.
Voting this year will be easier than ever, and our participation is more critical than ever before. As a lāhui we must do our part. We need to ensure that pono people are elected as our leaders – for our ʻohana and for our ʻāina. And beyond our pae ʻāina, we need to use our ballots to elect pono leaders for the sake of George and Gianna Floyd and the countless lehulehu whose names we do not know, but who have suffered horribly at the hand of unjust leaders, laws and policies.
Now is the time, Hawaiʻi. The Primary Election is on August 8th. Let’s help change the world.