The plaintiffs in the suit against the State of Hawai‘i and its agencies to stop the racially exclusive election and constitutional convention to establish a Native Hawaiians-only nation have filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, according to a press release from the Grassroot Institute of Hawai‘i. The motion asks the court to put the election on hold until after a decision is reached in Keli‘i Akina, et al vs. The State of Hawai‘i, et al. The group of four Native Hawaiians and two non-Native Hawaiians who filed the suit against the election are asking that all the groups involved—Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Na‘i Aupuni and the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission—be prevented from engaging in voter registration or calling and holding elections while the case is ongoing.Full Article: Preliminary Injunction Filed to Halt Biased Hawai‘i Election | Maui Now.
Articles about voting issues in Hawaii.
The newest tool for Hawaii voters went live last week, with the implementation of an online voter registration system. It’s part of an overall process to streamline the voting process and increase accessibility and participation. “It is (about) convenience,” said Pat Nakamoto of the county elections division. A bill passed during the 2012 legislative session required the online system to be in place by 2016. In order to register to vote, residents must have a Hawaii driver’s license or state ID. Voters who are already registered also can use the system to update their own information, such as name and address changes.Full Article: One step closer to all-mail voting? | Hawaii Tribune-Herald.
Four Native Hawaiians and two non-Hawaiians filed a lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court in Honolulu seeking to block a “race-based” and “viewpoint-based” election planned this fall as a step toward establishing a sovereign Hawaiian government. The lawsuit, which was filed against the state of Hawaii, Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees and other “agents of the state,” argues that the election violates the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act by using race and political qualifications to determine voter eligibility. The Native Hawaiian Roll Commission recently published a list of 95,000 Native Hawaiians eligible to vote for delegates later this year to a governance aha, or constitutional convention to be held next year. The election is being overseen by an independent group, Na‘i Aupuni, which is funded by OHA grants through the Akamai Foundation.Full Article: Hawaii Local Breaking News and Headlines - Federal lawsuit filed to block Native Hawaiian election - Hawaii News - Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
A lawsuit filed Thursday is challenging an election solely for Native Hawaiians, saying it’s unconstitutional to restrict voting to those who have Native Hawaiian ancestry. The lawsuit filed in federal court wants to stop a vote planned for November to elect delegates for a convention to determine self-governance for Native Hawaiians. There are a wide range of opinions and options for Hawaiian self-determination, and next year’s convention will allow Native Hawaiians to participate in that process, according to Nai Aupuni, the organization guiding the election, convention and ratification process. The Native Hawaiian Roll Commission was launched in 2012 as part of a state law recognizing Native Hawaiians as the only indigenous people of the islands. The roll is a list of Native Hawaiians interested in participating in their own government.Full Article: Lawsuit: Native Hawaiian election would be unconstitutional | Daily Mail Online.
Residents are now able to register to vote online. Officials from the Office of Elections and the Office of the City/County Clerks made the announcement Tuesday. According to officials, the online system was built to ensure that only individuals with verifiable identification could register. The system will only be available to residents with a valid Hawai’i driver’s license or state identification card.Full Article: Online Voter Registration Now Available | Big Island Now.
Hawaii may figure prominently when the Supreme Court this fall considers a case where plaintiffs are seeking to have legislative districts drawn based on a count of eligible voters rather than the total number of residents. That’s because for nearly half a century, the Aloha State has had the high court’s permission to ignore transients when drawing its political maps. While the Constitution requires equal population among legislative districts, a principle known as one-person, one-vote, a 1966 opinion said that Hawaii’s “special population problems” justified using registered voters as the baseline. The problem, as Hawaii saw it, was the large concentration of military facilities on Oahu. Counting tens of thousands of service members would distort the electoral maps by awarding legislative seats to military bases.Full Article: Hawaii Military Carve Out May Play Role in Voting District Case - Law Blog - WSJ.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill Tuesday that could make voting by mail the norm in Hawaii. The panel passed HB 124, which aims to boost Hawaii’s low voter turnout and increase participation in elections. It would start with smaller counties and gradually build so all voters get ballots in the mail. The current system allows people to sign up to vote by mail or they can vote in person during the two weeks before Election Day. “It’s a very complicated operation,” said Janet Mason of the League of Women Voters. “This would smooth out the operation.”Full Article: Lawmakers back plans for regular mail voting - Mauinews.com | News, Sports, Jobs, Visitor's Information - The Maui News.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill on Tuesday that could make voting by mail the norm in Hawaii. The panel passed HB 124, which aims to boost Hawaii’s low voter turnout and increase participation in elections. It would start with smaller counties and gradually build so all voters get ballots in the mail. The current system allows people to sign up to vote by mail or they can vote in person during the two weeks before Election Day. “It’s a very complicated operation,” said Janet Mason of the League of Women Voters. “This would smooth out the operation.”Full Article: Hawaii lawmakers push plans for voting by mail - Fairfield Citizen.
The state’s chief elections officer would have to undergo a performance evaluation after each general election under a plan approved by the state Senate. The bill, SB 622, requires the Elections Commission to provide the written performance evaluation to the Legislature. It was introduced after problems during the 2014 elections that included 800 ballots that were missing in Maui and voters in storm-damaged parts of the Big Island who couldn’t get to the polls. The Senate approved the bill Thursday. It now goes to the House.Full Article: Senate passes bill for chief elections officer evaluations | West Hawaii Today.
The state’s chief elections officer would have to undergo a performance evaluation after each general election under a plan approved by the state Senate. The bill, SB 622, requires the Elections Commission to provide the written performance evaluation to the Legislature. It was introduced after problems during the 2014 elections that included 800 ballots that were missing in Maui and voters in storm-damaged parts of the Big Island who couldn’t get to the polls. The Senate approved the bill Thursday. It now goes to the House. Democratic Sen. Russell Ruderman, who represents some of the Big Island voters, called the bill a “baby step when a giant step is needed. I think we have serious problems in the way the Election Commission does nothing in the face of election problems,” Ruderman said. “I watched them do it before my eyes. I watched them do nothing in the face of a disaster in my community.”Full Article: Hawaii Breaking News - Senate passes bill for chief elections officer evaluations - Hawaii News - Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Vote or be fined. It’s an idea moving through the legislature this year that’s got so many people fired up. “Hawaii should be embarrassed by itself. We’ve got the lowest voter turnout in the nation,” said Republican Re. Gene Ward, who represents Hawaii Kai. That’s why Ward says he’s introduced a bill requiring Hawaii residents to vote or be charged a $100 fine. That triggered thousands of hits and hundreds of comments on KITV4’s Facebook Page. The debate keeps on raging. “I think it’s one of the worst ideas I’ve ever heard. You have a bunch of people who don’t have a clue about what they’re voting about and they have no business voting,” said Waialua resident Chuck Vowell. “I would agree — some fine on their taxes, or on their driver’s license. And a small fee or penalty to encourage them to vote, because we should. It’s your civic duty,” said real estate agent David Bautista.Full Article: Lawmakers look at a fine for those who don't vote | More Local News - KITV Home.
A lawmaker from Hawaii’s Big Island wants to hold Hawaii’s Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago accountable for voting problems that she says denied residents of her district the right to vote. Tropical Storm Iselle hit Hawaii’s Big Island a few days before Hawaii’s primary election last year, felling hundreds of trees and knocking out power to thousands of residents. Voting was postponed in two precincts. But some residents in the precincts where the polls were open had blocked driveways or were too busy struggling without power or water to vote. A makeup election was called, but many Puna residents weren’t sure who could participate, and the instructions were changed with just a few days’ notice, said Rep. Joy San Buenaventura, a Big Island Democrat.Full Article: Hawaii lawmaker wants to hold elections officer accountable - Fairfield Citizen.
Officials are hoping to avoid disruptions in next month’s elections from an advancing lava flow in a mostly rural region on the Big Island of Hawaii. In August, Tropical Storm Iselle kept some voters in the Puna region from during the polls primary election, and there was subsequent confusion about how they could cast their ballots. Now, a lava flow threatens to isolate some voters ahead of the Nov. 4 general election.Full Article: Election officials preparing for threat from lava - Mauinews.com | News, Sports, Jobs, Visitor's Information - The Maui News.
Election officials are preparing for the possibility that the Puna lava flow could potentially disrupt voting in next month’s general election. Hawaii’s election chief outlined plans at a state Elections Commission meeting on Friday, but some critics fear a repeat of problems that happened during the primary due to Tropical Storm Iselle. “Please prevent another man-made disaster caused by the Elections Office,” said State Sen. Russell Ruderman (D-Puna, Kau). He recommended mail-in ballots only for next month’s election for precincts in lower Puna that could be affected by the lava. “We do not know at this time which precincts will be accessible, which neighborhoods will be accessible,” said Ruderman.Full Article: Election preparations for Puna lava threat - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL.
Hawaii County and state election workers are preparing for the possibility that voting could again be disrupted in lower Puna as a lava flow continues to advance toward populated areas. Election officials say they identified 7,542 voters in three precincts from Ainaloa to Kalapana who could have difficulty voting during the Nov. 4 General Election should the June 27 lava flow continue its long march to the sea. They are essentially the same voters, minus the precinct covering Hawaiian Paradise Park, who had voting disrupted during the Aug. 9 primary because of damage from Tropical Storm Iselle.Full Article: Election officials prep for lava | West Hawaii Today.
The Hawaii Supreme Court sided with the state today and dismissed an election challenge launched by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Big Island voters who were unable to cast ballots on Aug. 9 due to Tropical Storm Iselle. According to the Thursday ruling, the high court said it did not have jurisdiction over the constitutional questions raised by the ACLU. The dismissal also noted that the ACLU’s lawsuit, filed Aug. 21, was admittedly ““not a typical ‘election contest.’”Full Article: Hawaii Supreme Court Dismisses ACLU Election Challenge - Civil Beat.
After hours of testimony on Friday, the State Elections Commission would not discuss whether Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago’s job was on the line. Commissioners decided to form three sub-committees that would be dispatched across the state — one for Maui, the Big Island and on Oahu. Commissioner Bill Marston told a packed room at the State Office Building, they will be announcing their decision or any changes in their next meeting on Oct. 3. “There was no storm, there was no natural disaster other than the natural disaster of the chief elections officer,” said Sen. Sam Slom. One week after make-up voting for thousands of storm-battered residents on the Big Island, Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago found himself in the middle of the storm, once again blistered with accusations about a botched election. “This election is permanently tainted,” said Hawaii County Councilmember Brenda Ford.Full Article: Elections Commission launches investigation into primary election problems | More Local News - KITV Home.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii has asked the state’s top court to allow voters affected by Tropical Storm Iselle to cast ballots in the primary election. The ACLU filed the challenge in state Supreme Court on Thursday. The lawsuit against Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago and others says voters on Hawaii Island were disenfranchised because they couldn’t get to the polls due to storm damage. Tropical Storm Iselle made landfall on Hawaii’s Big Island less than 48 hours before election day. Two precincts in the badly damaged Puna region were closed, and voters were told they would be mailed ballots. But then Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago changed course and scheduled a makeup primary for a week after the original election date, leaving some voters confused about the logistics of voting.Full Article: HONOLULU: ACLU sues Hawaii over election storm response | National Politics | The Sun Herald.
U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa said Tuesday that she would not legally challenge her Democratic primary loss to U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz. The congreswoman lost to Schatz by 1,769 votes. The outcome was delayed for nearly a week after the state Office of Elections allowed voters in two Puna precincts on Hawaii island struggling to recover from Tropical Storm Iselle to cast ballots in a makeup vote. The state also found about 800 previously uncounted absentee ballots on Maui. “A big mahalo to our volunteers and supporters for your hard work, sacrifice and most importantly, for your trust,” Hanabusa said in a statement. “We would not have gotten as close as we did without the love and Aloha you poured into our campaign. I will forever be humbled and inspired by your support.”Full Article: Hanabusa says she will not file election challenge - Hawaii News - Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
There were a couple of big hiccups in this election, leading many to criticize the Office of Elections, and there will soon be a push for change. Two party leaders KHON2 News talked with on Saturday say this is not a partisan issue. They insist things can be done to create a better election process. Actually, an elections reform commission was created back in 2001. When Republican State Senator Sam Slom was asked if he thought the problems have been solved since then, he replied “no, I think the problems have been exacerbated. We need to re-look at this and make some serious changes.” Slom said the election problems aren’t unique to this year.Full Article: Political party leaders say Hawaii needs better election process | KHON2.