• Moving toward online elections. It sounds crazy, but it has worked elsewhere. Markham, Ontario, has used online voting since 2003. As my colleague Doug Gross wrote, one report says turnout has increased after the switch. Security is a concern, but it's no reason not to push forward, and quickly.
• Implementing same-day voter registration. As long as people are going to have to schlep down to the polls, they should be able to register on Election Day as well. As a Wellesley College professor wrote in The New York Times: "Minnesota implemented same-day registration, and its 2008 presidential turnout rate topped the nation at 78%." A similar move could help Hawaii.
• Moving voter registration online. Hawaii, thankfully, plans to take this step in 2016. For now, however, Hawaii's mail-in forms are needlessly cumbersome. They require full Social Security numbers, for example, which citizens rightly are wary of giving out to volunteers who might help them with the applications. Eleven states support online voter registration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. There's no compelling reason that number shouldn't be 50.
None of these is as easy as shaming a person into voting. But they could be as effective.
'It's not something that we're ignoring'
The pickup kicked gravel at our shins as the two young surfers pulled away. Edythe and I left Honolua Bay after dark and drove back into Lahaina. Our last stop for the day would be a mayor's budget meeting in a local community center.
I expected to find only a handful of people. But we walked into a packed meeting with more than 100 people. It became immediately clear that nearly all of them had come to talk about Honolua Bay.
"Why don't you guys come up here so we can kind of talk story, because I know this is a major issue," the mayor of Maui said, inviting the crowd to gather at the front.
"It's not something that we're ignoring," he said before giving an update about how the county is trying to come up with the money to buy back the land.
Dozens of people gave impassioned pleas about why they want to save the bay.
I couldn't help thinking that this is what democracy in Hawaii should look like: everyday people caring so much about an issue that they give up an evening to talk about it. That's so much more difficult than voting. Curious, I asked one man who looked like he was almost moved to tears by the debate whether he voted. "Of course," he said.
The scene made me think how close non-voters are to this kind of action -- and the power that one person like Elle Cochran has had to mobilize them. It was only two short years ago that she was in her mid-40s and had never participated in politics in any way. That night, she was called upon, wearing a band of flowers around her head, to give technical updates about the disputed land's agricultural status and what that means.
I also thought back to all of the non-voters I met on this trip.
They're people like Kuulei Davis, 28, who was sitting beneath a shade tree on a beach near Lahaina. You could see paddle boarders and sailboats in the distance. She told me voting and civic engagement don't mesh with the laid-back lifestyle in Hawaii. "We just kind of keep it real simple," she told me. "Politics and all that stuff, on an island like this? It doesn't flow very well."
That's not true, of course. Many non-voters I met cared deeply about political issues, but there were barriers to their participation or no one had asked them to join the conversation. When I asked Davis whether she wanted to sign up to vote for the first time -- after all, she's concerned about over-development of Maui and about her friends who have to work three jobs to pay the high rent rates here -- she said yes.
Why did you cave in so easily?
"Well," she said. "You asked."
How to help
If you want to be part of the solution, here are four small ways to help:
• Participate in "Convince Me to Vote!" Send messages to these five-non voters I met in Hawaii and ask them to vote for the first time.
• Are you a first-time voter? Make a public pledge to vote by uploading a photo of yourself to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #changethelist. It will show up on this auto-updating photo wall, powered by Chute.
• Make a pledge to vote with CNN's "I'm voting" Facebook app. Research shows that if Facebook friends see you're voting, it encourages them to do so, too.
• Know someone in Hawaii? Share this "Mahalo for Voting!" image on social media. Send it to five of your friends and ask them to pass it on.
Together, we can change the list.