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Rejection of political maps would create 'chaos,' state argues

By B.J. Reyes

LAST UPDATED: 01:31 p.m. HST, May 18, 2012

Upcoming elections could be thrown into "chaos" if new political boundary maps are required, state attorneys said today in asking a three-judge panel to accept the boundary plan drawn up by the state Reapportionment Commission.

Arguments were made today on a preliminary injunction being sought by five voters who say the plan is unconstitutional because it excludes 108,000 so-called "nonpermanent" residents from the population base used to determine district boundaries.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court is hearing the case and is expected to issue a decision soon.

Robert Thomas, representing the plaintiffs, argued that excluding nonpermanent residents — nonresident military members and their dependents and students who pay nonresident tuition — violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Thomas also contends that the Reapportionment Commission has created districts of unequal size that leads to unequal representation in the state Legislature.

Deputy Attorney General Bryan Abruano, representing the commission and the state Office of Elections, cited previous cases that say the state may define the population base to exclude certain residents to prevent distortions that might occur if large numbers of temporary residents were counted.

The only witness called to testify was Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago, who outlined the timetable faced by elections officials and repeated the challenges his office would face if new maps were required.

"It's next to impossible to have this election in a timely manner without potential chaos," Abruano said.

Reapportionment and redistricting occurs every 10 years to redraw political boundary maps to reflect changes in the population as documented in the most recent census.

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fairgame947 wrote:
So should the decision be made based on it "would create chaos" or on what is right and just!
on May 18,2012 | 01:39PM
loquaciousone wrote:
If the co-pilot told the pilot that they didn't have enough gas to fly to California should the pilot take off anyway because it would put them behind schedule to top off?
on May 18,2012 | 01:40PM
Changalang wrote:
Should we count all non-permanent residents/tourists and go against the U.S. Supreme Court as won by Burns in 1966 and re-affirmed by the Hawaii Supreme Court just this year? Should I find six tourists to sue when if the Federal Court oversteps and creates a harmed class of all the residents of Hawaii wishing simply to have enough time for candidates to get on the ballot? Should we just cancel our election so 6 people can feel victorious? So many questions. Let's get on with this process and see where it goes. SCOTUS needs some lead time for their crowded docket. The bottom line is that if you are not a permanent resident, you are just another tourist.
on May 18,2012 | 03:41PM
fairgame947 wrote:
If you can get a State ID within six months living here would that make you a permanent resident?
on May 18,2012 | 03:49PM
Changalang wrote:
Ask the Hawaii Supreme Court who ruled unanimously on the construct of our State Constitution. If you are out of State for nine months out of the year losing a war in Iraq or Afghanistan while being counted in your home State districting, are you no longer a tourist in Hawaii? Or; do you get to get counted twice in two states for districting because you are special, while the 70,000 census confirmed permanent residents get their election voices squelched.
on May 18,2012 | 04:19PM
CriticalReader wrote:
That reapportionment commission really screwed up once (and should have been disbanded as a result), and now have screwed up again.
on May 18,2012 | 05:33PM
Changalang wrote:
There is suspicion that the Oahu Royalty in the Senate really wants to keep things as is. Perhaps mistakes made were nurtured for a motive. I am from Oahu and will personally lose influence via these maps, but the Big Island deserves what is right. There was a bi-partisan consensus to keep Oahu strong. That is where the real mutual gerrymandering occurred from an outsider perspective. We will see how hard the State fights for what is right before pinch hitters have to step and knock it out of the park.
on May 18,2012 | 07:17PM
lee1957 wrote:
I would guess that all the plaintiffs in this case are in the population that was counted. If that were the case, I'd toss the whole thing as they lack standing. Also, anyone who feels they were left out of the count is free to register to vote if they so choose.
on May 18,2012 | 06:53PM
atilter wrote:
"chaos" is merely the inability to handle a given problem which results in an unfair solution satisfying no one. a time lag in holding an election is not really a problem except to those who run the election. the question is - why do they exist except to serve all the citizens of the state? so an added expense may have to be accepted to rectify what could be perceived as an inequitable excercise based upon faulty rationale. it's only money - but money well spent as compared to other follies now underway which could be considered far more costly - and irretrievable - serving a far fewer population segment..
on May 18,2012 | 10:45PM
niimi wrote:
Your Honors (plural), please accept our Gerrymandering so that the world won't fall apart here in Hawaii. We're really playing the "threat of mayhem" approach because we are desperate thugs just trying to throw our weight around, that's all. After all, we have every right to invoke that, "clear and present danger" thought in this case.
on May 18,2012 | 11:30PM
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