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First Quarter 2000

Spring 2001

Reapportionment (Carol Bain)
Care Package to Florida
State Censorship (Marcia Linville)
Viewpoint: Election 2000 (Jean Aoki)
Gambling Report (Dorothy Bobilin)
Education Committee Activity (Mary Anne Raywid)
Happy New Year!
Membership Directory


According to the U.S. Census report released December 28, 2000, Hawaii's population is 1,211,537. There are 103,308 new residents, a 9.3 percent increase, since the last census. Precisely which islands or geographical areas of the state have grown will not be released until April 1, 2001, according to Jan Nakamoto at the Hawaii State Data Center.

Once the data comes in, a reapportionment of seats to our state legislative body will occur in 2001 that will reflect this change in population and potentially alter the political nature of districts.

Presumptions about reapportioning districts should be avoided. For instance, the concept that "canoe districts" are cumbersome because they span two islands may not be entirely true. House District 12 which includes the East and North shore of Kauai and Eastern shore area of Maui, is an example: these areas' demographics and resources are similar, and their residents are concerned with similar issues. Rural lifestyle, agriculture and water resource management, and the impacts of tourism are all issues that help define District 12. In this case, it may make sense to keep District 12 in place rather than reapportion solely based on population count.

However, if the census data indicate Maui's population has grown enough, that may allow Senatorial District 6, represented by Senator Chumbley who lives on Maui, to exclude the Kauai portion. A decline of population or a modest growth on Kauai may force the office-holder of House District 12, now represented by Representative Morita who lives on Kauai, to be reattached to another island.

Our constitutional guidelines dictate that population deviations or differences between districts not be excessive. Who will be chosen to sit on the Reapportionment Commission is important, though no formal criteria for selection exist.

State Constitution Articles IV and V describe procedure and criteria.
Highlights are listed here:

  • No district shall extend beyond the boundaries of any basic island unit

  • No district shall be drawn as to unduly favor a person or political faction

  • Except in the case of districts encompassing more than one island, districts shall be contiguous.

  • Insofar as practical, districts will be compact and follow clear, permanent, geographical features.

  • Submergence of an area in a larger district wherein substantially different socioeconomic interests predominate shall be avoided.

State Constitution Article IV describes the procedure for appointment to a Reapportionment Commission. The 8-member commission must be certified on or before May l and be selected from both House and Senate majority and minority parties in equal number. Funding for the work, particularly the geographical (G.I. S.) mapping and population analysis, must simultaneously occur.

In addition, an Apportionment Advisory Council will be selected from each basic island unit. The four island units include:

  1. Island of Hawaii
  2. Islands of Maui, Lanai, Molokai and Kahoolawe
  3. Island of Oahu
  4. Islands of Kauai and Niihau

The minimum representation for each basic island unit is two senators and three representatives. A reapportionment plan must be completed within 100 days from the date all members are certified. Fifty days later it must be filed with the Chief Elections Officer and published.

At the conclusion of the 2001 reapportionment adoption and the end of the legal challenge period, it is possible we may see Senate District 6 removed from Kauai, and House District 12 removed from Maui. We might also see a return to multi-member districts.

For more information about the Legislative Reapportionment Commission contact the Office of Elections or browse www.hawaii.gov/dbedt/census2k/index.html

or contact the Hawaii State Data Center, Jan Nakamoto at Jnakamot@dbedt.hawaii.gov.

Resident Population and Percentage Change for the State of Hawaii: 1900-2000
[Percentage change from prior census]

Carol Bain

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