Fall 1998 Home   Newsletters

Winter 1998

Spring 1999

President's Message (Jean Aoki)
Changes to the State Excise Tax? (Astrid Monson)
Member Survey
Coordinated Community Response System to Domestic Violence (Val Kanuha)
Fairest Among Thousands (Betty Smith)
Making Democracy Work: Campaign Finance Reform (Toni Worst)
Wetlands & Agriculture: Public Interest and Public Benefits
League Local News - Hawaii County
League Local News - Kauai County
League Local News - Honolulu League
Education Committee (Mary Anne Raywid)
General Election Statistics for 1996 & 1998
Population Explosion: 6 Billion People in 1999
Scorecard on Gambling Positions
Model UN Project (Helene Hale)
State Board Actions
Web Page

President's Message

This is the time of the year when our local Leagues and State League begin to plan our programs for the next fiscal year. Even as we proceed, we should keep in mind the program that was adopted at our national Convention this past June.

No new study was adopted. The issue for emphasis that was adopted was Making Democracy Work: Seeking Change, particularly in the area of Civic participation. This is a continuation of the work begun in 1996 but with an emphasis on measuring results. There was much debate on the convention floor, with various Leagues strongly supporting one study or another and/or different issues for emphasis, but the majority of the delegates supported National League's recommendation for continuing Making Democracy Work.

Except for our working on Campaign Finance Reform, we in Hawaii have not worked on any of the other components of MDW -- Voter Participation, Civic Education, Diversity of Representation, and Civic Participation. Maybe it's time that we devote the time between now and the next election on improving voter participation and civic participation; studies show that as citizens become more involved in public issues, they are more apt to vote.

While our local Leagues have invested a great deal of time and energy in voter service activities, the fact remains that only about 50% of our eligible voters are exercising their right and responsibility to vote. In spite of the intense public battle to win voters over in both the gubernatorial campaigns and the campaigns on ballot issues, and the fierce campaigning in a few legislative districts, we did not attract as huge an increase in voters as might have been expected considering the huge increase in registrations and absentee voting.

The Goals Set by National League are:

Voter registration of 85% of all eligible voters by the year 2000,

Voter turnout of 70% by the year 2008, and voter registration and turnout for ethnic minorities and youth equal to the population as a whole.

Maybe it's time we tried to reach the hard core nonvoter. We could target a certain district or an age group, etc. and work with them. It would not be an activity confined to a few months in the election year. We would need to start almost immediately – looking for partnering organizations, deciding on a plan of action, selecting target areas or groups, etc.

We have some good resources sent us by national League – guides for Get-Out-The-Vote Campaigns, Empowering Citizens, as well as a booklet called Creating Communities of Inclusion. Then there's the Mellman/Wirthlin Poll which contains the results from a survey of voters and nonvoters and discusses the major factors that distinguish members of the first group from those of the latter.

1997 and 1998 were advocacy years for State League. I think it might be a good idea to focus on voter service and education for the coming two years.

Jean Aoki

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