Winter 2001 Home   Newsletters

Spring 2002

Council 2002

President's Message: Hawaii Has the Most Apathetic Voter Turnout... (Maile Bay)
Redistricting Work Done (Jean Aoki)
Support for Voting for Incarcerated Felons (Dorothy Cornell)
How it Looks for Schools in the Legislature (Mary Anne Raywid)
Invitation: Saunders Hall Dedication
One Afternoon at the Legislature (Jean Aoki)
Ice (Marian Wilkins)
Campaign Finance Reform (HCE) (Laure Dillon)
Local League News - Big Island - Kona (Marian Wilkins)
Local League News - Big Island - Hilo (Alberta Lindsay)
Local League News - Honolulu (Pearl Johnson)
Local League News - Kauai (Carol Bain)
Lunch 'n' Learn the Law
Council Meeting May 18

Redistricting Work Done

The Reapportionment Commission office has closed its doors, it,, work done; the maps are all drawn and the final report distributed We've both praised and been critical of the commission, but its work is done, and we must thank the individuals who volunteered so much of their time and effort to a demanding task, pressured from all sides. The commission responded to community concerns as best they could, and redrew the maps more than once we suspect, but once after the official maps were released for public comment.

We have much praise for the professional staff who advised the commission on the considerations that go into redistricting and who drew the maps, and the Elections Office which provided the logistical services. Their responses to the requests and inquiries of the public were given generously and with the utmost courtesy.

We have a copy of the final Report of the State of Hawaii 2001 Reapportionment Commission, and you are all welcome to come in to the office to peruse it or to borrow it.

Redistricting in Need of Reform

Nationwide, just as elections and campaign finance need reform, reapportionment needs reform too. The reports on the redrawing of congressional districts found in the February, 2002 edition of The Political Standard, the monthly bulletin of The Alliance for Better Campaigns, are typical of many reports from different sources throughout the nation.

Rob Richie and Steven Hill, the executive director and the western regional director of the Center for Voting and Democracy, respectively, in their article "Before We Pick Our Representatives, Our Representatives Pick Us," say "Whichever political party controls the line-drawing process has the God-like power to guarantee themselves majority control and make or break individual political careers." According to their article, in California where the Democrats control redistricting, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez is supposed to have acknowledged giving $20,000 to the Democratic consultant in charge of redistricting to keep her "safe" seat. And she claims that others did the same. The California Republican Party which had protested past redistricting plans did not protest too much this year because they were "bought off with the promise of safe seats," according to the article.

The redistricting abuses are repeated throughout the nation, and experts say that maybe 30 seats out of the 435 congressional seats will be competitive this year. Richie and Hill claim that incumbent protection has been raised to a new level. All this, plus the advantage that incumbents have in raising campaign funds, keeps competition for seats down; and without competition, it's "ho hum" for voters who see no reason to go out of their way to vote for sure winners.

Clearly, reapportionment demands more attention from citizens.

Jean Aoki

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