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Commission gives final approval to new political maps

By B.J. Reyes

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 04:17 p.m. HST, Mar 08, 2012



The state Reapportionment Commission gave final approval today to new political boundary maps for state House and Senate districts.

Commissioners approved the maps by a vote of 8-0, with one member absent.

The state Office of Elections announced that candidates for the 76 state leagislative races may begin filing nomination papers Friday. Filing has been delayed while the district boundaries were in flux. June 5 is the deadline for people to file for state House and Senate races.

The proposals, redrawn after the state Supreme Court last month tossed out the maps approved last year, were presented Feb. 15, but House maps were revised twice since then after concerns were raised about alleged gerrymandering and splitting of communities.

A faction of House Democrats said the commission had drawn lines favorable to the leadership of Speaker Calvin Say, a violation of a constitutional provision that says lines shall not be drawn to favor a person, political party or faction.

Commissioners dismissed the allegations saying they did the best they could under tight time constraints. They also cited the bi-partisan makeup of the commission as a check against any wrongdoing.

Members of the dissident faction of House Democrats have said they are weighing options, including the possibility of filing legal action.

Further delays could compromise the Aug. 11 primary election. The state Office of Elections had said it needed the maps by Feb. 29 to begin establishing precincts, assigning polling places and notifying more than 600,000 registered voters of where they are to go to vote. Candidates for state office have been unable to file for office until the maps were finalized.

The original plan adopted by the commission last year was tossed out Jan. 4 by the state Supreme Court, which agreed with Hawaii island plaintiffs who argued that too many nonpermanent residents were included in the population base used to draw boundaries, negating population gains that should have resulted in Hawaii island gaining a seat in the state Senate. Oahu would lose a seat.







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