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OHA courting young Hawaiian voters


The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has launched a campaign aimed at increasing voter turnout among Native Hawaiians across the state.

OHA’s “Hawaiian Voice, Hawaiian Vote” campaign includes more than 20 registration drives on college campuses and community events.

It also involves TV, radio, print and social media advertisements that use celebrity spokespeople, such as football player Kealoha Pilares and entertainer Lehua Kalima, to help boost the appeal of voting.

In addition, the campaign features volunteers who go door to door canvassing in predominantly Native Hawaiian communities.

For example, more than 60 volunteers will descend on the 800-plus homes in the Papakolea community on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, when they will go door to door registering Native Hawaiian voters and sharing information about candidates seeking public office.

The goal is to increase the voter turnout in Papakolea to 60 percent in the upcoming November general election, from 47 percent in 2011 general election.

OHA’s upcoming canvassing in Papakolea follows similar canvassing in September of Native Hawaiian communities in Waianae and Waimanalo.

“We are attempting to empower young Hawaiians to become allies for the changes they want to see in their community,” said OHA Chief Executive Officer Kamanao Crabbe. “For that reason, we are putting a lot of effort into defining for Hawaiians their stake in voting. There’s mana (power) in our voices and if we all channel our mana, we can be a force.”

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) is a unique, independent state agency established through the Hawa State Constitution and statutes to advocate for the betterment of conditions of all Native Hawaiians, with a Board of Trustees elected by the voters of Hawaii.

OHA is guided by a vision and mission to ensure the perpetuation of the culture, to protect the entitlements of Native Hawaiians, and to build a strong and healthy Hawaiian people and nation.

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