With so much misinformation, as well as deliberate disinformation campaigns by foreign agents and special interest groups, in our world today, the state Office of Information Practices urges all government agencies to do what they can to combat falsehoods and be the source of truth in government. One way to easily do this is by providing open data and accurate information on government websites, which might even help to reduce UIPA record requests to agencies.
This year, for example, there has been a lot of misinformation about election security, mail-in voting, voter registration, and voting deadlines. By going to the State Office of Elections’ website at https://elections.hawaii.gov/election-security/, people can learn about Hawaii’s election security measures and mail-in voting procedures, which verify voters, ensure voting secrecy, and accurately count ballots. Important deadlines for the November 3, 2020 general election can be found on the home page at https://elections.hawaii.gov/, including the recommended mailing deadline of October 27, as ballots need to be actually received, and not just postmarked, by November 3, 2020. If you miss the recommended mailing deadline, you can still deposit your mail-in ballot at various places listed on the Office of Elections website. Although the October 5 deadline has already passed for new voters to register online so that they receive their ballot in the mail, Hawaii residents who missed that deadline can still register and vote in person on the same day at a Voter Service Center from October 20 through the general election day, November 3, 2020.
The public can do its part to combat misinformation by questioning what they read on social media and doing their own research from trusted sources. Government agencies need to earn the public’s trust by making accurate data readily available to the public. Let’s all do what we can to combat misinformation in a respectful and unbiased manner.