Hawaii County – Leaders in the Democratic Party on Hawaii Island are preparing to take the Hawaii Statewide Reapportionment Commission to task for a recent decision that will likely eliminate the Big Island’s chance at a 4th seat in the state senate.
In a break from past practices, the Statewide Reapportionment Commission recently voted to include nonresident military and their dependents in the tally when redrawing district boundaries. Before, only Hawaii and Kansas had chosen to exclude the military numbers from their redistricting process.
Hawaii County was the fastest growing county by population, according to the 2010 census. By including the military numbers, Oahu will not be losing a senate seat to the Big Island.
The decision was made by a nine member board, all but one of whom are from Oahu.
The ninth member – Anthony Takitani – is from Maui, and he was the only no vote to the recent military counting decision.
Hawaii County democrats are delivering a joint demand to both the Hawaii and Maui County Reapportionment Advisory Councils and 2011 Statewide Reapportionment Commission today, (July 12). The Maui and Hawaii County advisory councils are meeting today in Room 312 of the Capitol to discuss possible litigation over the state commission’s decision.
Big Island Video News received a copy of the Democratic Party of Hawaii’s letter:
RESOLUTION TO SECURE FAIR, EQUITABLE REPRESENTATION
FOR THE RESIDENTS OF HAWAI’I COUNTY
The Hawai’i County Committee (HCC) of the Democratic Party of Hawai’i (DPH) – at its Sunday, June 10, 2011 meeting – unanimously voted to request that the 2011 Reapportionment Commission support fair, equitable representation for all residents of the County of Hawai’i in the 2011 Reapportionment process.
As documented in the 2010 Census Public Law 94-171 Data for the State of Hawai’i: “Population Growth Within The Neighbor Island Counties Was Faster Than The Population Growth In the City and County Of Honolulu as well as the entire State of Hawai’i.” (See data.)
In keeping with the U.S. Constitutional one man/one vote fairness doctrine, this population growth warrants the addition of a 4th Senate seat for the County of Hawai’i.
However, the 2011 Reapportionment Commission has voted to include nonresident members of the military when computing population data prior to redrawing political districts. This negates the creation of a new senate seat for Hawai’i Island.
While members of the HCC honor and strongly support nonresident members of the U.S. military for their dedication to our safety, security and freedom, we believe that nonresident members of the military are just that – nonresidents of the State of Hawai’i. These individuals do not consider Hawai’i “home” – they live and vote elsewhere.
Further, in 1992, a Hawai’i Constitutional Amendment changed the population base to be used for reapportionment from “registered voters” to “permanent residents” and this position was validated by the Attorney General assigned to the 2001 Reapportionment Commission. There is at this time no justification for ignoring the Hawai’i State Constitution, and all of the 2011 neighbor island advisory councils concurred by reconfirming that nonresident members of the military should not be included in the population base.
Therefore, the HCC asks the 2011 Reapportionment Commission to reverse its decision to include nonresident members of the military.
Further, if necessary, we urge the State Democratic Party to pursue all legal options including filing a lawsuit, if necessary, to overturn this Reapportionment Commission decision that denies Hawai’i County residents equal representation under the law.
This is not a political party issue. Rather, we believe this decision deprives Hawai’i Island voters of fair and equitable representation by denying the addition of a 4th Senate seat for our island and retaining it on Oahu.
A copy of this resolution is to be immediately submitted to the 2011 Reapportionment Commission, the Hawai’i County Reapportionment Advisory Council, the Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawai’i, members of the DPH State Central Committee, and all Hawai’i County elected officials.
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Statistical Data from the 2010 Census Public Law 94-171 Data for the State of Hawai’i:
“Between 2000 and 2010, Hawai’i population grew by 12.3% and C&C of Honolulu population increased by 8.8%. Population on the neighbor island counties, however, rose at a faster pace than C&C Honolulu. As a result, their shares of the state’s population has increased.
“This continued a trend that began in the 1980s. The fastest growing counties between 2000 and 2010 were Hawai’iand Maui counties, with a 24.5% and 20.8% increase respectively. The C&C of Honolulu now has 70.1% of the state’s population, slightly down from 72.3% a decade ago. The combined share of the three neighbor island counties grew from 27.7% to 29.9% between 2000 and 2010. Hawai’i County’s population share grew to 13.6% (up from 12.3%), Maui County’s population share increased to 11.4% (up from 10.6%), and Kauai County’s population share increased to 4.9% (up from 4.8%).” (Excerpted from the 2010 census highlights presented by DBEDT to the 2011 Reapportionment Commission.)