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Voters sue to block political redistricting plan

By Ken Kobayashi

LAST UPDATED: 05:06 p.m. HST, Apr 06, 2012

Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief (Reapportionment), Kostick v Nago, No. CV12-000184-JMS (D. ...

A state legislator and five other registered voters filed a federal lawsuit today, challenging the state's Reapportionment Plan as a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

The suit says the plan violates the Constitution's equal protection clause by excluding more than 108,000 military members, their families and university students in drawing up boundaries for state legislative districts.

The suit also says even if the exclusions are permissible, the plan does not divide residents equally in the legislative districts.

The lawsuit asks for an injunction preventing the state from implementing the plan and directing the state to come up with another plan that counts the excluded residents.

It asks for three federal judges to hear the case.

The lawsuit could further delay preparations for the Aug. 11 primary election.

The plan wasn't approved until March 8 after an earlier proposal was rejected by the Hawaii Supreme Court and House members who are opposed to the leadership of House Speaker Calvin Say raised questions about gerrymandering — drawing district lines to favor a person or political factions.

State Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago has said his office needs the plan to prepare for the election, including notifying 600,000 registered voters of their polling places.

State. Rep. K. Mark Takai (D, Newtown-Pearl City), who is in a district with another incumbent, is among the six plaintiffs who filed the suit against Nago, and the state Reapportionment Commission, its chairwoman Victoria Marks and commission members.

The suit says the plan violates the U.S. Constitution's equal protection provision by excluding the residents and the "malapportionment" of the districts.

The plan is the result of successful court challenges to the Hawaii Supreme Court. In January, the court ruled that the commission's earlier plan violated the state constitution's requirement of counting only "permanent residents."

The high court held that non-permanent residents included the military and university students.

In March, the commission followed the high court's ruling and adopted the plan that excluded 108,767 residents, nearly 8 percent of the 2010 Census population, the suit said.

The suit says the ideal population under the plan is 50,061 people for a Senate district and 24,540 people for a House district.

But under the plan, Kauai's Senate District 8 would have 66,805 residents, while the Big Island's Senate District 1 would have 44,666 residents, the suit said.

In the House, House District 5 would have 27,129 residents, while Kauai's House District 15 would have 21,835, according to the suit.

The suit by Honolulu attorney Robert Thomas was in behalf of Takai, former military personnel Joseph Kostick, David Brostrom and Larry Veray, Manoa resident Andrew Walden and Aiea resident Edwin Gayagas.

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Changalang wrote:
Feds vs. Hawaii Supreme Court ruling over sour grapes? This will be good. :)
on April 6,2012 | 04:14PM
kainalu wrote:
Yep. Grab your popcorn, sit back, and enjoy the show!
on April 6,2012 | 06:52PM
Changalang wrote:
3 panel v. State of Hawaii; Appeal if they win to full panel by August Primary? Full panel to cancel election in Hawaii? Think of the possibilities. The timeline doesn't work. Takai will get a judicial slap back along the way. Mark my words.
on April 6,2012 | 08:26PM
Kapakahi wrote:
Mark Takai and the others are calling for a return to canoe districts. That is the only way to construct districts with equal populations. I guess Mark is afraid he will lose to newcomer Heather Giugni if he has to run under the recently approved maps.
on April 6,2012 | 05:21PM
Wonderful_World wrote:
I'm surprsed it's only Mark Takai that's taking a stand...there was a bunch of them a few weeks ago.
on April 6,2012 | 05:39PM
Changalang wrote:
No other elected official is willing to incur the wrath of voters and neighbors that have already been harmed by the process delays. Perhaps a civil counter-suit for damages is in order from the plaintiffs when the dust settles.
on April 6,2012 | 06:35PM
poidragon wrote:
They want to challenge this in a court of Law, then make them put up a portion of the funding it will take to litigate this in Federal court, instead of using the tax payers time and resources!
on April 6,2012 | 10:47PM
jshawaii wrote:
Typical of Democratic leadership (or lack or) -- Calvin Say accused by one of his own house members of gerrymandering! Say it isn't so, Mr. Say! -- Don't worry, the people have your back, or should I say your back pocket. You along with the bought and paid State Supream Court should all be in jail for some of the political 'decisions' that are so crooked and politically based (see the Hawaii Supreme Count cowtow to Calvin Say's pressure to issue one of the most illogical decisions of all time.. .just to screw Linda -- The Super Ferry Decision only made ONE ship illegal out of DOZENS that use the same peir and State facilities on the regular basis)_ Anyway, another reason to love the one-party system this state has... js
on April 6,2012 | 11:30PM
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