Electronic is the answer

We sympathize with the motives behind House Bill 321, a proposal to allow voter registration on Election Day.

Certainly, low voter turnout chronically plagues our state. But, as Miriam Hellreich, a Republican National Committeewoman for Hawaii, pointed out in an Op-ed piece in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the state’s Office of Elections is already having trouble coping with demands on Election Day.

Hellreich pointed to 21 polling stations running out of ballots last November as an example of the existing chaos.

While we agree with Hellreich that Election Day registration is a bad idea, we don’t believe the answer is the status quo.

When Gov. Neil Abercrombie suggested voting by mail, we suggested skipping that interim step by jumping to electronic registration and ballots. Voters who wished to vote at home would give themselves an ID and password when they registered. That should prevent fraud.

On Election Day, they would go to a ballot website and vote from the comfort of their home by first entering their ID and password.

Those without a computer could still go to a polling place, identify themselves the old-fashioned way, then vote on a touch screen.

The benefits would be numerous:

* Registering and voting from home should vastly increase turnout.

* The election results would be instantaneous.

* There would be no postage – a big advantage over voting by mail.

* Traffic at polling places would be vastly reduced.

* The elimination of paper ballots would save money – and the embarrassment and disenfranchisement associated with running out of them.

So skip the expensive interim step of mail ballots and the chaos of same-day registration. Go electronic.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.