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Hawaii ties for last in voting

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(CNN) — Hawaii tied West Virginia for 49th place in voter turnout in the November election — and I’m pretty pumped about it. That may seem like a strange thing to be excited about, or even to know about, but hear me out on this: Since September, I’ve been writing about Hawaii’s lowest-of-the-low voter turnout rate for a new CNN project called Change the List. The goal, as the project name spells out in even-Ke$ha-can-understand terms (sorry, Ke$ha, I’m sure you’re smart, but that dollar sign …), was to bump Hawaii off the bottom of that list. And I wanted to do that with your help.

Read the full story on CNN.com.

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Why Election Day should be a federal holiday

As The Atlantic has suggested, Election Day could be combined with Veterans’ Day to create “Veterans’ Democracy Day.” Smart idea. Sends a strong message about the importance of voting, and the sacrifices that have made American democracy possible.

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You convinced them to vote

Your thoughtful messages (find 47 of them here) convinced three of these nonvoters in Hawaii to vote on Tuesday, two of them for the first time. One of them, Michael Remen, said he decided to vote because of a single message, sent from a total stranger on the Internet. This was part of CNN’s Change the List. We’re trying to boost voter participation in Hawaii, the state with the lowest turnout. Many, many thanks to all who sent in messages.

Read the full story on CNN.com.

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As the election nears, social networks are being used extensively to try and persuade people of the importance of voting and even beat the record 2008 turnout, when two-thirds of US voters cast a ballot in the election. A project endorsed by First Lady Michelle Obama, for instance, encourages people to take photos with their kids when they vote and post them on social networks, to teach the younger generation about the workings of democracy. On Foursquare, the location-based social network, users can connect an app to their account and find the nearest polling station. On Tuesday, they will be able to see who voted across the United States on an online map. And Facebook will reportedly post get-out-the-vote messages Tuesday to millions of voting-age Americans on the social network.
This AFP on the social media and voting story leads off with CNN’s Change the List. Very cool. Remind all your friends (online and otherwise) to go to the polls on Tuesday.

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47 of your pro-voting arguments

Thanks to all of you who sent in these messages. They’re really fun. Check out the list to see if your argument made the cut.

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5 reasons Minnesota is tops at voting

For those of you outside Hurricane Sandy’s path, here’s a fun fact: Minnesota is a voting paradise. The state had a turnout rate near 80% in 2008. Wowza. 

Here are five reasons why that’s the case. Read the full story on CNN.com.

  1. Same-day voter registration laws
  2. Hearty, Midwestern civic culture
  3. They raise awareness about voting
  4. No voter ID laws
  5. A competitive, multi-party political scene

This story is part of CNN’s Change the List - an effort to boost voter turnout in Hawaii. Check out this feature: “The state that doesn’t vote.”

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Each of us Americans have an obligation not only to our forefathers who sacrificed much but to those of us who are coming after … us. That they may inherit a country that imperfect as it is remains the only country where we its citizens are truly free and have the right to chose … their country’s own destinies.
Jesse Olivarez, making a plea for a nonvoter in Hawaii to cast a ballot. You can see other responses from the online community here. Send in yours and tag it #CTL1.

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Ninety-three-year-old Frank Tanabe casting his vote in Hawaii. Tanabe is in the final stages of cancer. This image of him voting, likely for the last time, went viral. What an inspiration.
More on this story from CNN’s Political Ticker:

According to his daughters, Frank has never missed a presidential election, and wasn’t about to let his illness deter him from voting this time around. When his absentee ballot arrived on Wednesday, his daughter, Barbara, sat at his bedside and read aloud the candidates and issues. “I helped him. He either nodded ‘yes’ or shook his head ‘no’,” Barbara said. “He didn’t always vote for my candidate.” Nonetheless, she followed his directions and mailed in the completed form. He hasn’t been able to speak since.

Ninety-three-year-old Frank Tanabe casting his vote in Hawaii. Tanabe is in the final stages of cancer. This image of him voting, likely for the last time, went viral. What an inspiration.

More on this story from CNN’s Political Ticker:

According to his daughters, Frank has never missed a presidential election, and wasn’t about to let his illness deter him from voting this time around. When his absentee ballot arrived on Wednesday, his daughter, Barbara, sat at his bedside and read aloud the candidates and issues. “I helped him. He either nodded ‘yes’ or shook his head ‘no’,” Barbara said. “He didn’t always vote for my candidate.” Nonetheless, she followed his directions and mailed in the completed form. He hasn’t been able to speak since.

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Michael Remen, a sous-chef in Hilo, Hawaii, spent an hour and a half trying to vote in the primary. The polling places were such a mess, he said, that he doesn’t plan to vote in November. Before this year, he always looked forward to going to his polling place. Help us convince him to vote again. Post a message or video and tag it #CTL2. This is part of CNN’s Change the List — an effort to boost voter participation in Hawaii, the state that had the lowest voter turnout rate in 2008. I’ll report back on whether or not it works. Thanks for your help. — John

Michael Remen, a sous-chef in Hilo, Hawaii, spent an hour and a half trying to vote in the primary. The polling places were such a mess, he said, that he doesn’t plan to vote in November. Before this year, he always looked forward to going to his polling place. Help us convince him to vote again. Post a message or video and tag it #CTL2. This is part of CNN’s Change the List — an effort to boost voter participation in Hawaii, the state that had the lowest voter turnout rate in 2008. I’ll report back on whether or not it works. Thanks for your help. — John

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Edythe McNamee and I go on a journey through Hawaii — figuring out why that state ranks dead last in terms of voter turnout. Our goal: Change the List.

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Thanks for voting, Hawaii!! — CNN’s Change the List

Thanks for voting, Hawaii!! — CNN’s Change the List

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It’s a really volunteer, grass-roots driven effort. It’s by and large a younger set of volunteers, in their 20s and 30s, who really believe in the fundamental principle of democracy — that everybody ought to have an equal voice in it and equal power to shape the future of our government. And that promise has really rung hollow for a long time … The only way to restore that is to get out and start to re-engage ourselves and each other in political life. It has to start there or it’s not going to happen.
James Koshiba, executive director of Kanu Hawaii, explaining the group’s door-to-door, person-to-person efforts to increase voter participation in the state.

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Some of your solutions for Hawaii’s low voter turnout rate …

  • "Make voting more of a prerogative, start when kids are young start in schools."
  • "Make people care bring out the ceremony in voting."
  • "Young voters would probably be into incentives. ‘What do I get if I vote?’"

Thanks to those of you who responded to the question.

Keep the answers coming!

I think the schools answer is especially on point. And I’m into this idea of the “ceremony” of voting. In the 1800s, that was the case. It was fun to go to the polls back then — and “boozy,” as Sasha Issenberg puts it in his recent book about voter turnout