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Hawaii advances automatic voter registration bill

Hawaii advances automatic voter registration bill
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A state Senate panel in Hawaii has unanimously passed a bill that would allow for automatic voter registration.

The bill would let those eligible to vote automatically be registered when they apply for a driver’s license or state identification card, The Associated Press reported.

Battles over voter registration have intensified in recent years, but even more so after the 2020 presidential election and its aftermath. 

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A number of states are considering measures to either make it more difficult or easy to vote. 

States taking steps to ease voter registration, such as Hawaii, are generally run by Democrats, while state legislatures taking steps to limit registration often have GOP majorities. 

In Hawaii, voter registration information would have to be filled out before submitting a state identification card application and the information would be sent to election officials. The legislation has received support from many as it could cut wait times in voter service centers and allow more people to participate in elections.

Combining the data between driver’s license information and the statewide voter registration system would help keep voter information accurate, the State Office of Elections said in support of the bill. 

The bill does allow for a citizen to opt out of being automatically registered to vote if they choose. 

The bill will be presented to the full Senate and needs to be voted on to move forward to the governor’s office. 

Automatic voter registration has become popular in recent years with 20 states adopting automatic voter registration policies since 2016. 

Citizens in states without automatic voter registration must submit separate documents apart from their driver’s license in order to vote.