HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
A lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch on behalf of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii demands the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission release the list of Hawaiians signed up to vote in an upcoming convention that has not yet been set.
"Our concern is that the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission has been evasive in providing this information. One of it's fundamental responsibilities to the public is to be forthright and transparent," Grassroot Institute president Kelii Akina said.
He said twice the Commission turned down his request for a copy of the list.
"We owe it to the public, to the Native Hawaiian population, to look into this," he said.
"We have over 120,000 who are registered," Roll Commission chairman John Waihee said.
He said Grassroot Institute has been told the list is still being compiled.
"They don't want to see an election happening," Waihee said. "They don't want to see Hawaiians reorganizing themselves. As I said, this is more about politics than it is about substance."
Kana'iolowalu's web site shows 122,785 Native Hawaiians have signed up. About 80,000 came from OHA's Kau Inoa registry. Waihee said they were asked if they wanted their names removed.
"Ninety-nine percent of the people said, 'No! Keep our registration,'" he said.
But Akina believes many Native Hawaiians who want off the Roll are being kept on it.
"The list contains tens of thousands of names of Hawaiians who did not give permission for their names to be on the list," he said.
Waihee said once the list is certified it will be released to the public. He said instead of suing, Judicial Watch and Grassroot Institute should work with the Office of Information Practices.
"Rather than that happening, there was this rush to the courtroom," he said.
A judge will hear arguments in the lawsuit on June 3. Native Hawaiians on the final list will vote for delegates to the convention, the next step in the re-building of a Hawaiian Nation.