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December 1964

Calendar of Events
Robert Dodge to Speak at General Meeting
On Reapportionment (Sheila Hoffman)
Candidates' Questionnaire
New Unit Formed in Kailua
One Word from the President (Nancy Dykes)
Charter, City and County of Honolulu. 1959 (insert)
Candidates' Questionnaire (insert)

On Reapportionment

Mr. Tom Dinell, Director of the Legislative Reference Bureau, offered the following comments on reapportionment in his address to about 40 Leaguers at a luncheon meeting on September 3.

Most strongly emphasized was the idea that reapportionment is not a simple matter, and decisions concerning it should only be made after we determine what kind of governing body we want, and what role the courts should play in these decisions. Reapportionment, therefore, seems to be opening the way to reexamination of our present political system, and as Mr. Dinell pointed out many questions must be answered in this process.

Basically, reapportionment has come about because the move from rural to urban areas has not simultaneously been reflected in the legislature. Although the U.S. Supreme Court has mandated the apportionment of state legislatures on a population basis, the Court has not specified what constitutes population. The indefiniteness of these guidelines makes it difficult for legislatures to comply with the reapportionment directive. At present, reapportionment seems largely to be a matter of case by case decisions in the courts.

The reason for approaching reapportionment on a population basis is to give each citizen an equal vote (in line with the "one man-one vote" principle. However, even though this basis is numerically equal, it does not necessarily insure a more meaningful vote on the part of the voters. An ideal scheme would account for qualitative aspects such as increased informed voter participation and a wider range of meaningful choices.

Some of the questions Mr. Dinell suggested for our consideration were:

  1. Do we want a unicameral or bicameral legislative body?

  2. Do we want single, multiple, or continuous districts?

  3. Who should draw these districts?

  4. What should be the criteria used?

  5. What should the legislator's length or term, pay and residence requirements be?

  6. What voting system should be used?

Sheila Hoffman

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