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Commission delays decision on Oahu population base for redistricting


The Honolulu Reapportionment Commission deferred action on whether to include nonresident populations such as military members and their dependents in the overall island population count for the purposes of redistricting.

After about 90 minutes of debate Wednesday, the commission voted to defer action and await more information from the state Reapportionment Commission on whether additional data on military members’ addresses would be forthcoming.

 "I think it’s a controversial enough topic … that we should try to get as much information as we can," Commissioner Arthur Park said.

Other nonresident groups the commission may consider excluding as it draws up county political districts to reflect changes in the population over the last decade are nonresident students and incarcerated felons.

 In 2001, the county commission decided to exclude military members but not their dependents, along with nonresident students. 

Commissioners  Wednesday argued whether there was legal grounds for excluding or including the groups and whether they should be considered permanent residents when, historically, 98 percent of them are self-declared nonresidents.

The state Constitution says "permanent residents" should be considered for reapportionment purposes, but it does not define the term. The Honolulu county charter does not include that distinction.

State commissioners voted 8-1 last month to include all four nonresident groups in the overall population count for purposes of drawing up state House and Senate districts. 



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