Help Make Sure Each Political District is Created Equally


After the 2020 Federal census our State’s total population will be “reapportioned” and then “redistricted” to ensure each political district has been created equally. Help Hawaii’s bi-partisan Reapportionment Commission prepare maps showing the geographic boundaries of each national and state district. How many “permanent residents” live in each district compared with number of Federal and state districts required by law. But it’s not simply division arithmetic! 

Since Hawaii’s Constitution uses “permanent residents” and not total census population, there are many more people living in Hawaii than are represented in our reapportionment plan.  

The residents of Hawaii “extracted” from our apportionment base weren’t assigned to a district anywhere in the United States for purposes of representation at the State level, because all the other States are relying on the census count to determine representation and these 108 thousand people weren’t included in the census count for any state except Hawaii. This isn’t fair to these citizens. It isn’t just. It isn’t right.  All residents of Hawaii should be included in the reapportionment plan.

Our second point has to do with the fact that those excluded from the reapportionment plan are not evenly distributed throughout our State, which results in unequal representation in government. The “equal protection” clause in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution guarantees every resident of the United Sates Federal congressional representation as well as state representation. 

Equal protection is already guaranteed for Federal House districts because those districts use total census population as an apportionment base. But similar protection is not afforded for Hawaii legislative seats because of the apportionment base we persist in using. 

“One person, one vote” means legislative districts need to be divided according to population, so that each person (and each interest) has equal representation in government. Using Hawaii’s 2010 total census population the following chart shows two examples of representation that is not equal:

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Reapportionment Commission

Reapportionment ensures each political district has been created equally. This takes place once every ten (10) years.

The Public

During the course of its deliberations, the Commission had the opportunity to hear from and discuss with various people in the community the many aspects of reapportionment and redistricting. To name all such persons individually would result in an exhaustive list. A limited listing of these people is contained in those sections of this report dealing with the Commission’s public hearings. The Commission would like to thank all members of the public who participated in the Commission’s public hearings and meetings or who provided written testimony or comments to the Commission.

The Advisory Councils

Under the State Constitution, the advisory councils of each basic island unit were vested with the responsibility of advising the Commission with respect to reapportionment and redistricting within that basic island unit. This year, Councils also served as a resource for their communities in using GIS mapping system to submit plans. The Commission notes that every council discharged their responsibilities well. The Commission is grateful for the work of the councils in measuring the pulse of their respective basic island units and in recommending changes to the plans for their respective island units. A portion of the final reapportionment plan for the State legislative districts reflects the views and recommendations of the advisory councils.