Think About It: Common Census, 2011 - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

September 21, 2011

Think About It: Common Census, 2011

The governor and a number of Big Island groups all agree that the state Reapportionment Commission needs to change its initial thoughts on who to count as it sketches new boundaries for state voting districts. As mentioned here before, these decisions about redefined boundaries will affect money, projects and other legislative issues, so in its final plans, the commission needs to back off on its initial vote three months ago to include non-resident students, non-resident military members and their families, and incarcerated felons.

Those groups cannot vote in Hawaii elections, and thus the argument is that they should not be counted in the final tabulations of how many people there are in each district or island. As it stands, the majority of this group of more than 75,000 not-eligible-to-vote people reside on Oahu, but the majority of real growth in Hawaii's population over the past 10-years has been on the Neighbor islands, and thus the Neighbor Islands are rightfully saying that the new representation numbers in our hallowed legislative chambers should reflect the growth of voting-eligible residents.

The commission has said there is time to change its initial decision if it finds cause, as the final plans must be turned in to the Office of Elections by Monday. When the commission convened in June, not enough detail was known about non-residents, so now is the time to correct the plan and make sure representation truly reflects where the legal voters live throughout our state, as it was meant to be, even if the balance of power shifts a bit from Oahu. That's the way the system and the census were designed- to accurately reflect shifts in population and act accordingly. The people should be heard- wherever they now live.  Think about it…

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