Saying “every vote is precious,” Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed into law legislation that seeks to improve voter turnout.

House Bill 2590 allows for voter registration at absentee polling places beginning in 2016, and late voter registration — including on election day — beginning in 2018.

The bill also allocates funds to help the State Elections Office and county clerks implement the new requirements.

Kaniela Ing, the state representative who introduced HB 2590, said he didn’t want potential new voters to be disenfranchised.

Abercrombie + election day bill + June 30, 2014

Gov. Neil Abercrombie is surrounded by supporters of the new voter registration law, executive chambers, Hawaii State Capitol, June 30, 2014.

Chad Blair/Civil Beat

Ing noted that Hawaii has gone from having perhaps the highest voter turnout rate in the nation 50 years ago to the lowest today.

Advocates of the new law include Common Cause Hawaii, the League of Women Voters of Hawaii and Faith Action for Community Equity.

Karl Rhoads, the House Judiciary chairman, said HB 2590 compliments another measure this year intended to prevent election fraud.

The governor signed House Bill 452 into law last week.

“We want people to participate in our democracy and make certain that it thrives,” said Abercrombie.



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