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August 2006

Winter 2006

President's Message: Convention Highlights
League Receives ABA Award
Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling (HCALG) (Grace Furukawa)
National Convention (Marianna Scheffer)
League Attends Special Drug Policy Forum Event (Suzanne Meisenzahl)
Whither Goes Our Republic? (Jean Aoki)
Sad News (Carol Whitesell)
Explanation Worth Considering (Valere McFarland)
Voter Owned Elections (Kory Payne)
On Voting and Not Voting (Carol Bain)
Other Voting Facts
BOE Election (Mary Anne Raywid)
Report of Convention 2006 Action (Sue Irvine)
Growing Movement for National Election of President (Jean Aoki)
Chapter Report - Kauai (Carol Bain)
Chapter Report - Honolulu (Piilani Kaopuiki)
Chapter Report - Hawaii (Marianna Scheffer)

On Voting and Not Voting

I once pondered that voting was like gambling, in that you were taking a chance on someone by voting for them. If your candidate won, that would reinforce your "habit." If they lost, you would continue voting because you were "hooked" on the habit of voting.

Unfortunately, this is not true. The percentage of registered voters is dramatically slipping. There are 35,556 registered voters in the County of Kauai but in 2004, only 14,215 (40 per cent) voted. This is reflective of the state as a whole. In recent elections, the Hawaii primary election turnout has been dramatically slipping. It has gone from a high in 1978 of 74.6 per cent to a low of 40.3 two years ago.

There are people who have the vague feeling the counting process is faulty. As someone who has seen how the ballot process works and is double checked, I assure you there is no fraud at the elections office. (There is need of elections reform, but it is not a faulty counting process.)

If you vote and your candidate loses or your issue fails, then it feels bad. Nobody in their right mind wants to feel bad. It is easier to feel defeated and to ignore the whole political process.

Some believe it is best to leave the task of voting to those who take the time to learn the issues. It is much easier to stay at home; enjoy your cozy family; tend the weedy garden. After all, we are already working full time to pay for the mortgage, utilities and taxes – enough already.

Except, if you had registered and voted maybe the taxes would have been lowered and the infrastructure maintained.

Some don't want to trudge down to the polls on Election Day. But now you can get an absentee ballot application by calling 241-6350, and vote by mail. What could be easier?

As someone who has been working to register new and renewing voters, I am used to being ignored and rebuffed. This leaves a lot of time to discuss the situation with the League volunteer sitting with me.

The most common reason people give for not registering is that she or he does not want to be called to serve on a jury. This is not a good excuse because if you have a driver's license, you are already in the jury pool.

I don't think that is the real reason for not registering or for not voting. Because, if you vote it means you care and you have a belief in Democracy (with a capital D). Immigrants who have become naturalized know how important it is to exercise their right to vote, but many of us who have not had to fight for it have become complacent.

With all the solutions presented, it still is not easy to vote. Why? I think it's just too hard to care.

One has to care enough to believe in the democratic process and learn about the issues. That's hard too, because where are you going to get the information?

Well, besides this and other newspapers, for the coming Primary election, the League of Women Voters is going to make it easier to learn about the U.S. House of Representatives Congressional District #2 candidates. All are invited Tuesday, September 5, 2006, LWV Public Forum at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall.

Review reasons not to register and vote:

* Voting hurts my feelings when my candidate loses so I will just stay home and pout.

* Voting means I care and it's easier to just whine and complain about it all.

* Voting is a waste of time because nothing is going to get better anyway; so leave me alone.

* Voting takes too much time to learn about the issues even if I can get all the information and can vote by mail.

If anyone can think of a real reason not to vote, let me know and a solution will be found for you. Do you need a ride to the polls? Come with me and let's vote for a better public transportation system on Kauai. It's not going to happen unless you participate.

Mark September 5 on your calendar, and then mark Sept. 23 for the Primary Election.

PS – The League needs more volunteers. Email KLWV@kauai.net or write

LWV-Kauai County,
PO Box 1181,
Lihue, HI 96766
and join. Since 1972, both men and women are welcome as members. The League registered voters at the Kukui Grove Shopping Center on Friday, August 4. Please call Linda at 335-2737 to volunteer for future opportunities.

Carol Bain
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