The U.S. Supreme Court last week temporarily stopped Hawaii from counting ballots in a recent election of Native Hawaiian delegates over concerns by some the vote violates the U.S. Constitution by discriminating against voters who aren’t native Hawaiians. The delegates, once elected, would prepare a document for self-governance by native Hawaiians. Guam plans to hold a political status vote, limited to the island’s indigenous Chamorros, as defined by Guam law. The non-binding vote, or plebiscite, would be used to determine whether the island’s Chamorros prefer statehood, free association or independence. Guam currently is an unincorporated territory of the United States. The Guam vote is being challenged in federal court for allegedly discriminating against the island’s non-Chamorro voters. The case, filed by Guam resident Arnold Davis, who isn’t Chamorro, is scheduled to go to trial next July.
The complaint about the Native Hawaiian vote was filed in Hawaii’s federal court this past August, when six Hawaiians sued the state government’s leaders, as well as the organizations running the election.
The Hawaii election’s voter rolls are restricted to those descended from “the aboriginal peoples who, prior to 1778, occupied and exercised sovereignty in the Hawaiian islands.” That’s similar to the restriction placed on who can enroll in the Guam Decolonization Registry for the pending Guam plebiscite — “native inhabitants of Guam.”
Full Article: Native Hawaiian election halted.