Elections Office tries to ensure personal data is protected on cards
I just finished reading the forms mailed to us by the Elections Office of the City Clerk. My concern is that they send a postcard-type of form to be filled out by voters. We had to list our Social Security numbers, our address and phone numbers. This is the same information our government advises us to protect. There must be a better way to do this. Everyone handling the postcard has the information available to them. Does the city realize the door they are leaving open?
Answer: You do have the option of dropping the card off at City Hall in person, use a regular voter registration form, which has to be inserted into an envelope, or insert the form into an envelope, said Glen Takahashi, city elections administrator.
The Voter Registration Update Postcard instructs people to detach the three-part mailer at the perforation, then to tape the other two sides together, so that the pertinent information is not visible.
However, some people have mistakenly detached the mailer where there is no perforation, so they end up with a single postcard with all the information revealed on the back.
The "courtesy reply postcard" is meant to be a convenient way for voters to update registration information, Takahashi said.
If your information is correct and current, you don't need to do anything.
Takahashi said state law requires that voters provide their names, Social Security numbers, date of birth, address, etc. when registering or reregistering to vote.
"Is there a better way to do it? Well, perhaps," he said.
But he said allowing people to update the required information as part of the mailer was a "design choice" to encourage people to reregister to vote and keep their information updated.
Without that convenience, he said there probably would be a lot fewer people updating their information.
About 420,000 postcards are mailed out on Oahu.
Of those, 40,000 to 45,000 are returned as undeliverable because people have moved.
In 2006, more than 11,000 people returned the card with updated information or to cancel their registration, Takahashi said.
So, "For at least 11,000 people, it was worthwhile to use the response card."
Meanwhile, Takahashi said if you are concerned that someone is taking mail from your mailbox or it's being mishandled at the post office, then "the problem goes well beyond information on the card because other things are being stolen ... but most people, by and large, do trust the U.S. mail."
I got a ticket for not wearing a seat belt because I had it on under my arm (I am VERY large chested). I just recently moved to Maui and I think if the state of Hawaii wants to be cryptic about the seat belt law, then the police and news media should do a better job of educating visitors and residents about it. Instead of handing out tickets to law-abiding citizens, they should at the very least give people who are so obviously new to the islands a warning about how the state interprets federal laws. Since this is "Click It Or Ticket" month, let's get some real information out to the public -- not just that "you need to be wearing it," but that it must be over your shoulder. Which is a double standard since the old and classic cars don't even HAVE shoulder straps! Not feeling the aloha! -- Kathy Roussel
Your experience serves as fair warning.
We did explain the law a few years ago (see Kokua Line, June 26, 2001).
Basically, although the state law does not specify how the seat belt should be worn, it does say it should be worn according to federal standards, which are specific. That means the belt should be worn over the shoulder, according to state officials.
The annual "Click It Or Ticket" seat belt enforcement campaign, which began May 12 in all four counties, is being conducted through today.
All front-seat occupants, as well as back-seat passengers under the age of 18, are required to buckle up. Violators face a $92 fine.
Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
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