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Winter 1977

Spring 1977

Project Con-Con
LWV Hawaii Education Fund, Inc.
LWV Opens a Door
Voting Rights
Boarding at State Convention
Hired by BNA
Who Said...?
Legislative Log (Muriel Roberts)
Legislative Interviews (Jerry Hess)

Under the minority language provisions of the federal Voting Rights Act, Hawaii was required to provide ballots and written instructions for the last election in four languages - English, Japanese, Chinese and Ilocano. Compliance with the Act cost us $500,000 in the general election alone. Were the results worth it?

The Lieutenant Governor set to find out by taking a survey of his own, independent of the U.S. Census figures. He found that while the Japanese, Chinese, and Filipino populations do have over 5% voting age citizens in their respective languages (requiring compliance), only the Filipino population falls into all categories for compliance, including number of eligible voters registered and illiteracy rate.

In other words, there is no need for ballots in Japanese and Chinese, especially since our own State Election Law is more comprehensive than the federal law, providing for assistance to all ethnic groups large or small who need it. This fact was borne out at the polls where only 174 people requested facsimile ballots in a language other than English - less than 1% of the number who voted.

Based on his survey and the results at the polls, the Lieutenant Governor is going to federal court to sue the Justice Department (a friendly adversary) to prove that the Voting Rights Act applies to only one minority group in the state. The money spent on compliance with the Act can better be spent to help all of our state's minority groups.

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