Bill would make voting more accessible, inclusive

I was 17 when I passed my driver’s license test. After six months, I had just turned 18 by the time I returned to the DMV in the summer to renew for my full driver’s license. While waiting inside the Kahului facility, I realized I was eligible to vote for the upcoming primary election that year and asked a worker for a separate voter registration application form.

I share this story because without this “Aha!” moment on my end and the convenient timing of going to the DMV when I did, I probably would not have been a registered voter sooner or at all.

A simple check box option in choosing whether to opt in or opt out of being a registered voter when applying or renewing for a driver’s license or state identification at a county DMV facility is an easy way for residents and the state to save time, money, and strengthen implementation of the vote-by-mail system, which in turn has proven to encourage voter engagement and improve the state’s low voter turnout record.

Passing SB 159, Automatic Voter Registration, is a step forward. It will eliminate extra costs towards printing and processing of separate voter registration applications; shorten the time spent by residents filling out another application that asks for the same information and documents, thereby improving service quality experienced at the county DMV facilities; and ensures a record of having the person’s most current home or mailing address so that ballots are sent at the correct places.

Levin Gil Bonilla



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