Motivating the electorate

A column by Honolulu Star-Advertiser political writer Richard Borrecca pointed us to the Pew Charitable Trust’s Voter Performance Index – a report on voter participation in the United States.

The results were not too charitable in their assessment of Hawaii voters’ interest in elections. According to Borrecca’s column, the report said – as a group – voters here in 2012 were the least likely to even bother registering to vote, much less actually casting a ballot.

The most damning quotes read thusly:

“The state was last in voter turnout in 2008 and 2012, with its rate decreasing 4.6 percentage points over those years.

“It was the only state with turnout below 50 percent in 2008 and the only one with less than 45 percent turnout in 2012.”

The results beg the question: What does it take to get a resident of Hawaii to take the time to register and then vote? In both 2008 and 2012, Hawaii’s favorite son, Barack Obama, was running for president.

If we can’t get folks to show up when Obama is on the ticket, whom can we put there to motivate the electorate?

Right now, there are two very good races on the Democratic side of the ticket. Brian Schatz vs. Colleen Hanabusa for the U.S. Senate promises to be a very tight race that will be decided in the Democratic primary.

Sen. David Ige’s intraparty challenge to incumbent Gov. Neil Abercrombie may prove to be just a warm-up bout.

Assuming Abercrombie prevails over Ige in the primary, he faces a strong challenge from former Republican Lt. Gov. James Aiona and possibly a third-party run by Mufi Hannemann. Hannemann, the former mayor of Honolulu, is studying a run as the Hawaii Independent Party nominee for governor.

These two races alone should motivate all of us to register and vote.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.