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Judges deny reapportionment injunction; election will proceed

By B.J. Reyes

LAST UPDATED: 04:31 p.m. HST, May 22, 2012

The 2012 elections may proceed under the reapportionment and redistricting plan approved in March by the state Reapportionment Commission, a federal panel of judges ruled today.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court in Honolulu denied a preliminary injunction being sought by a group that challenged the plan as unconstitutional because it excludes 108,000 so-called "nonpermanent" residents from the population base used to allocate legislative seats among islands and determine boundaries for voter districts.

The plan was approved March 8, and the state Office of Elections began preparatory work for the Aug. 11 primary election soon after. The deadline for candidates to file nomination papers is June 5.

Reapportionment occurs every 10 years to redraw voter district boundaries to reflect changes in the population recorded in the most recent U.S. Census.

The Attorney General's office had argued against the injunction citing previous federal cases that said the state may exclude certain residents from the population base to prevent distortions that might occur if large numbers of temporary residents were counted.

State attorneys also argued that the election planning process was too far along to start over and having to draw new district maps could cause extensive delays and jeopardize the Aug. 11 primary and potentially the Nov. 6 general election.

Robert Thomas, representing the eight voters who filed the challenge, argued that excluding nonpermanent residents — nonresident military members and their dependents along with students who pay nonresident tuition — violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. The lawsuit also contends the commission created districts of unequal size, leading to disproportionate representation in the state Legislature.

Excluding the nonpermanent residents, as the commission had to do because of a state Supreme Court ruling, shifts a state Senate seat to Hawaii island from Oahu.

The judicial panel consisted of U.S. District Judges J. Michael Seabright and Leslie E. Koba­ya­shi of Hono­lulu and 9th Circuit Judge M. Margaret Mc­Keown of San Diego.

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loquaciousone wrote:
Let the Games Begin! Ben Cayetano for Mayor. Stop the Rail! Save our Bus!
on May 22,2012 | 02:24PM
Larry01 wrote:
Ugh, this has nothing to do with the City and County mayoral election, and nothing to do with rail.
on May 22,2012 | 03:19PM
Changalang wrote:
So let it be written; so let it be done. Justice served in the Hawaii Supreme Court and vindicated by the Federal Court process; AGAIN. Now it is time for the Democratic Party of Hawaii to censure the Representative that sued the State Constitution he swore to upheld until it became inconvenient.
on May 22,2012 | 03:42PM
Changalang wrote:
P.S. Kudos to the State AG Office. Louie's team assure sanity reigns in the Aloha State. The Legislature needed a lot of "guidance" last session; perhaps it is time voters follow the lead and vote logically to spare the AG the trouble next session. Let's clean the self-promoting self-serving pocket filling public dis-servants out of office.
on May 22,2012 | 03:47PM
Bean808 wrote:
Hey Voters, Be careful how you vote this year. Especially don't let any incumbents run unopposed. That would be such a waste. I guess it doesn't matter what the court's rational was eh?
on May 22,2012 | 04:32PM
Changalang wrote:
The Court's rationale was that if they changed our State Constitution and just one military/tourist was double counted in two states; then real justice could not be served by the U.S. Constitution. Easy decision.
on May 22,2012 | 07:14PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
COMMON sense ,,,,,,,,,,,,
on May 22,2012 | 07:05PM
Changalang wrote:
Hoomau Big Island Democrats; Oahu needs a bigger dose of old school sanity in the Senate. Congrats !
on May 22,2012 | 07:09PM
SteveToo wrote:
That "group" sure is/are a bunch of dorks. All those military and their families are residents of their home states not Hawai`i ao why should they vote here??????????????????
on May 22,2012 | 08:26PM
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