The Sunshine Blog: Alphabetical Order - Honolulu Civil Beat


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The Sunshine Editorial Board

The members of Civil Beat’s editorial board focused on ‘Let The Sunshine In’ are Patti Epler, Chad Blair and Richard Wiens.


Short takes, outtakes, observations and other stuff you should know about public information, government accountability and ethical leadership in Hawaii.

Pecking order: The Hawaii House of Representatives on Tuesday was all set to approve a bill randomizing the names of candidates on election ballots when Rep. David Tarnas proposed a floor amendment to tweak the legislation due to concerns of some of his colleagues.

Hawaii’s ballot currently lists candidates in alphabetical order beginning with the letter “A.”

Senate Bill 47 cites “numerous publicly available studies” that argue the candidate whose name appears first on a ballot has an advantage over the other candidates. California and Ohio arrange candidate names randomly “so that each possible permutation appears an equal number of times” on ballots.

But Tarnas heard from some members who expressed objections to SB 47.

They worry whether the Hawaii Office of Elections can properly randomize the names and whether voters might get confused over sample ballots displayed on the office’s website versus the ballot they receive in the mail or vote on in selected voting places.

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Asked how the bill might be fixed, Tarnas said in a brief interview Tuesday, “Good question.”

He said he needed to “drill down” with Scott Nago, the chief elections officer, to see if there exists the randomizing technology required by SB 47 and to clear up any possible ballot confusion for voters.

The floor amendment will be dealt with Thursday during the House floor session.

Still deliberating: Legislation that would create a new “deliberative process privilege” allowing government agencies in Hawaii to temporarily withhold certain government records from the public received a unanimous vote in the Hawaii Senate Tuesday.

House Bill 719, which also calls for capping the fees that agencies can charge the public for searching, sorting and copying public records — a very good thing — received 24 “ayes” in a floor vote, which included one “yes” vote but “with reservations.” It came from Sen. Les Ihara. Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole was excused.

The House can now choose to accept the Senate’s convoluted version of HB 719 or else disagree, sending it into the black hole that is conference committee.

BTW, you can read our take on “WR” here. Hint: It’s silly and no one else in the country uses it.


Read this next:

Neal Milner: Bullies Can Only Bully Because The Legislature Encourages It


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About the Author

The Sunshine Editorial Board

The members of Civil Beat’s editorial board focused on ‘Let The Sunshine In’ are Patti Epler, Chad Blair and Richard Wiens.


Latest Comments (0)

"..."deliberative process privilege" allowing government agencies in Hawaii to temporarily withhold certain government records from the public..."I'd be ok with that, so long as that period is clearly and well defined, and consistently applied.Why are copying fees even an issue? E-versions cost next to nothing to create and post online, for convenient public access and searching. When is this 3rd world banana republic going to join the 21st century?

Shoeter · 1 month ago

It's really an easy reform - except for the politicians themselves.

Sally · 1 month ago

People have different views about everything so you can't please everyone about everything. Working together is good way of understanding. Just objecting is ignorance that I'm right and you're wrong. Work for the goodness of all.

kealoha1938 · 1 month ago

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