HONOLULU (KHNL) - Native Hawaiians have the potential to make up about 16% of the voters in our state. But only half of those registered to vote, actually make it out to the polls. Several groups are trying to change that, by launching an awareness campaign. The groups feel a good turnout by Hawaiian voters can make a difference.
The message is clear. Native Hawaiians should vote. JoAnn Sang understands. She votes every election.
"My parents always went out to vote. My tutu always went out to vote. I grew up with that. I've seen them go to the polls and vote" said Sang.
But many others in the community haven't gotten it. That's why the a coalition of Native Hawaiian groups is launching a sign- waving campaign.
"I think this initiative is really about the Hawaiian community doing our part about that to raise voter inspiration, to get involved, and to be an activist at least one day a year" said Robin Puanani Danner of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement.
Statistics show there are more than 153,000 Native Hawaiians eligible to vote. But only 75,000; or fewer than half, are registered. Less then half of them actually voted in 2004.
"If Hawaiian people don t stand up for their rights then there's just no point in them complaining" said Tiare Pereira-Sang.
"We have enough people out there that we need to come out, and we're asking all of our people to register and come out and vote. And whoever you wanna vote for, at least come out and participate in an election" said Tony Sang, representing the Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations.
"We cannot do it by ourselves. We need to get people in there that is gonna do it for us" said JoAnn Sang.
The sign-waving campaign to encourage the Native Hawaiian vote starts across the state Tuesday morning. It will continue on a regular basis through the general election.
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