During the elections following Hawaii's statehood in 1959, Hawaii's voter turnout was a consistent 90% of the voting-age population. Today, however, Hawaii has the lowest voter participation rates in the country. Hawaii's Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed same day registration into law in July 2014 to help new voters come to the polls by 2018. State Representative Kaniela Ing, who helped introduce the same day registration bill, said, "No matter what the reason is, people aren't coming to the polls and government should make it as easy as possible for new voters to be able to do so."
In Hawaii, local elections have been decided by fewer than 20 votes, and new voters like Elle Cochran can tip the balance even further. Cochran voted for the first time when she ran for office in 2006 to protect her beloved Honolua Bay from a real estate development, and during the campaign, she inspired her friend's 18-year-old daughter to register, vote, and pass out registration forms to 30 or 40 friends. In Hawaii's tightly knit communities, same day registration will help people like Cochran take action and vote on the issues that matter to their friends, families, and neighbors.