Hawaii

State website: hawaii.gov/elections/reapportionment
2010-cycle districts: Congress, State legislature  « NEW 
2000-cycle districts: hawaii.gov/elections/maps
Primary governing law: Haw. Const. art. IV; Haw. Stat. ch. 25

The Latest

After a series of meetings, the commission released draft plans on August 3, 2011, and final plans on September 26. On January 4, 2012, the Hawaii Supreme Court rejected the state legislative plans, for failure to properly exclude nonresident population under the state constitution. On March 8, the commission approved new state legislative plans. Another lawsuit was filed thereafter, challenging the removal of nonresident population under the federal constitution; that challenge was rejected on July 11, 2013.

  • Institution

    Redistricting political control:

    Governor State Senate State House
    Congressional lines Politician commission with balanced partisan composition
    State legislative lines
    2000 cong. lines Politician commission with balanced partisan composition
    2000 state lines

    Hawaii's congressional and state legislative lines are drawn by a nine-member politician commission, in place since 1968. Each of the four legislative leaders (majority and minority leader in each legislative house) chooses two commissioners, and those eight normally choose a ninth; if they cannot, the Supreme Court appoints a tiebreaking member. [Haw. Const. art. IV, § 2]

    The initial eight members of the commission are listed here, and the ninth member, selected by the Supreme Court, is here.

    The Hawaii Supreme Court has original jurisdiction to review legal challenges filed in state court. [Haw. Const. art. IV, § 10]


  • Timing

    Census data were delivered to Hawaii on February 24, 2011.

    With the appointment of its chair by the Supreme Court, the Hawaii commission was formed on April 29, 2011; the state constitution requires that the commission produce plans no later than 150 days from the date that it was formed -- which is September 26, 2011. State statutes require that the commission produce draft plans for public comment no later than 100 days from the date that the commission is formed -- which is August 7, 2011. Candidates must file for congressional and state legislative primary elections by June 5, 2012. [Haw. Const. art. IV, § 2; Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 12-6(a), 25-2]

    Hawaii law designates "reapportionment years," and might therefore be construed to prohibit redrawing lines mid-decade. [Haw. Const. art. IV, § 1]


  • Public input

    State statutes provide for public hearings on draft redistricting plans, with at least one public hearing in each of the state's basic island units before a plan is finalized. [Haw. Rev. Stat. § 25-2]

    Minutes from past meetings of the commission, and the schedule for upcoming meetings, are listed here. The notice requirements for testifying at meetings has provoked some controversy.

    The commission's website links to online software, which allows members of the public to draw and submit plans to the commission.


  • Criteria

    Like all states, Hawaii must comply with constitutional equal population requirements; for its state legislative lines, Hawaii has further set a goal of achieving districts as nearly equal to average permanent resident population within each of the four basic island units (centered on Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai) as practicable. [Haw. Const. art. IV, §§ 4, 6] Commission guidelines state that the commission will also adjust population to reflect permanent residents (neither non-resident students nor non-resident military) for equipopulation of state legislative districts; on June 28, 2011, the commission voted to include non-resident but physically present military in the population count, but on September 19, the commission reversed course, and voted to exclude those individuals from the population count. [2011 Reapportionment Commission, Standards and Criteria]

    Hawaii must also, like all states, abide by section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

    Hawaii has provided additional statutory constraints on congressional plans, which mirror state constitutional constraints on legislative plans. For both types of lines, districts must be contiguous; must be compact, if practicable; and must follow permanent and easily recognized features where possible, and coincide with census tracts where practicable. Where practicable, districts must also avoid submerging one area in another with substantially different predominant socioeconomic interests. [Haw. Const. art. IV, § 6; Haw. Rev. Stat. § 25-2(b)] State legislative districts may be multimember districts, but no more than four members may be elected from any single district. Furthermore, where practicable, state House districts must be nested within state Senate districts. [Haw. Const. art. IV, § 6] The commission has promulgated guidelines that further state that state legislative districts must be nested within congressional districts. [2011 Reapportionment Commission, Standards and Criteria]

    No district may be drawn so as to unduly favor a person or political faction. [Haw. Const. art. IV, § 6; Haw. Rev. Stat. § 25-2(b)]


  • 2010-cycle cases

    Kostick v. Nago, No. 1:12-cv-00184 (D. Haw.) & No. 13-456 (Sup. Ct.): a challenge in federal court to the equal population of Hawaii's state legislative plan, based on the allegedly improper removal of nonresident persons from the apportionment base (see Solomon v. Abercrombie, below).
         - Trial court
              - Complaint (Apr. 6, 2012) and amended complaint (Apr. 27).
              - Motion for preliminary injunction (Apr. 23), stipulated facts (Apr. 20).
                   - Opposition (May 3), reply (May 8).
                   - Order denying motion for preliminary injunction (May 22).
              - Motions for summary judgment by:
                   - Plaintiffs (statement of facts, response) (Oct. 1), opp. (Oct. 29), reply (Nov. 19).
                   - Defendants (statement of facts) (Oct. 1), opposition (Oct. 29), reply (Nov. 19).
              - Opinion granting summary judgment to defendants (July 11, 2013).
         - U.S. Supreme Court
              - Notice of appeal (Aug. 9).
              - Jurisdictional statement (Oct. 8).
              - Motion to affirm (Dec. 12), opposition (Dec. 26).
    The latest: On May 22, 2012, the court denied plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction, finding it unlikely that they would prevail on the merits of their challenge to the constitutionality of Hawaii's population base. On Jan. 22, 2013, plaintiffs dismissed state law claims from their complaint, which would have been jurisdictionally barred. On July 11, 2013, the court granted summary judgment to the state, rejecting the plaintiffs' challenges. The case has been appealed to the Supreme Court.

    Solomon v. Abercrombie, No. SCPW-11-0000732 (Haw. Sup. Ct.): a challenge in state court to the state Senate districts, challenging the alleged failure to properly remove (under the state constitution) nonresident students and military from the apportionment base before redistricting.
         - Petition for writ of mandamus (Oct. 10, 2011).
         - Answer by state (Nov. 18), governor (Nov. 21), response by office of elections (Dec. 28).
         - Reapportionment commission's motion for summary judgment (Nov. 23).
              - Governor's opposition to motion for summary judgment (Dec. 9), reply (Dec. 12).
              - Plaintiff's motion to strike MSJ (Dec. 1), opposition (Dec. 2).
              - Order striking motion for summary judgment (Dec. 22).
         - Order (Jan. 4) and opinion (Jan. 6) granting petition for writ of mandamus.
    The latest: On January 4, the court granted the petition for writ of mandamus, striking the state legislative plan for failure to properly remove nonresident students and military from the apportionment base, as required by the state constitution. The state's politician commission will have to draft a new plan.

    Matsukawa v. State of Hawaii 2011 Reapportionment Comm'n, No. SCPW-11-0000741 (Haw. Sup. Ct.): a challenge in state court to the state legislative districts, challenging the alleged failure to properly remove (under the state constitution) nonresident students and military from the apportionment base before redistricting.
         - Response (Nov. 18).
         - Reapportionment commission's motion for summary judgment (Nov. 23).
              - Plaintiff's opposition to motion for summary judgment (Nov. 28), reply (Dec. 2).
              - Order striking motion for summary judgment (Dec. 22).
         - Order (Jan. 4) and opinion (Jan. 6) granting petition for writ of mandamus.
              - Commission's motion for clarification and/or reconsideration (Jan. 13).
              - Order denying motion for reconsideration (Jan. 20).
    The latest: On January 4, the court granted the petition for writ of mandamus, striking the state legislative plan for failure to properly remove nonresident students and military from the apportionment base, as required by the state constitution. The state's politician commission will have to draft a new plan.


  • 2000 cycle

    In the 2000 redistricting cycle, Hawaii's commission enacted congressional and state legislative district plans on November 30, 2001. It appears that neither plan was challenged in court.

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