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Commission's change won't shift Senate seat to Big Island

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 6:37 p.m. HST, Sep 19, 2011


The state Reapportionment Commission voted to exclude a small portion of nonresident military members and students from the total population base for the purposes of drawing up new boundaries for state political districts.

The exclusion of those groups — about 16,000 residents — is not enough to shift a state Senate seat to the Big Island from Oahu.

Today's vote by the commission reverses its decision of June 28 to include all nonresident military members and their dependents, along with nonresident students and incarcerated felons. 

Big Island groups have said they would sue if the population base was not amended to exclude the nonresident groups. Their inclusion maintains a greater population base on Oahu and negates growth on the Big Island that normally would result in Hawaii island gaining a state Senate seat.

The vote was 5-3 to exclude the group of 16,000, who are military members self-declared as residents elsewhere and living in group quarters on base, and nonresident students, as determined by their school, whose full addresses are known. Commissioners previously voted 8-1 to include all nonresident population groups.

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