Hawaii’s Political Lineup
The redistricting deadline is October 26, 2001; the final plan must be filed with the Chief Election Officer by this date (150 days from the date members of the Reapportionment commission were certified).
Who’s in Charge of Redistricting?
An all-civilian, nine-member Reapportionment Commission draws both congressional and legislative districts. It must be formed by May 1st of the year in which reapportionment takes place, per the Hawaii state constitution. The commission is made of members named by the speaker of the house (appoints two), the president of the senate (two), and the minority leaders in both houses (each appoint two). The first eight members choose the ninth member.
Well-publicized public hearings are to be held around the state. Citizens can also propose their own plans. Hawaii's redistricting websiteis now online, with plans, maps, criteria for reapportionment, FAQs, do-it-yourself redistricting software, meeting minutes, laws governing redistricting, an online calendar of events, and more. There are numerous public hearings scheduled throughout September--please see What's New for details.
The combination of a Reapportionment Commission, the small number of U.S. House districts and the Democrats’ domination of the state legislature makes redistricting a relatively uncontroversial process. The 1991 redistricting changed little in Hawaii, and little change is expected in 2001.
No cases. The legislature in 2000 sought to resolve a dilemma involving a change to four-year, staggered terms for state senators. All seats are to be elected in 2002, including those of senators elected in 2000. Some interpreted the current law to mean that if an incumbent in such a race wins, that incumbent will have a four-year term, but a challenger in such a race would only serve a two-year term.
An appointed commission in the late 1990's assessed the state’s redistricting process. It concluded that there was a lack of public understanding about the redistricting process and that better and timelier access to redistricting data would be important to prepare the public for redistricting hearings.
Jean K. Mardfin