Commissioner defends redrawn voter maps, saying changes reflect new demographics

Redistricting happens every 10 years using Census data.
Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 5:33 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 27, 2021 at 5:40 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Amid growing complaints about how Hawaii’s election districts are being redrawn, a reapportionment commissioner is defending the plan.

Critics of the proposed voter maps by the reapportionment commission rallied last week to get attention and now have former Gov. Neil Abercrombie on their side.

One group is concerned about Kalihi being split down Likelike Highway.

“You just can’t do that. We are a blue-collar working district. They just can’t cut us in half,” said state Rep. John Mizuno, who represents Kalihi and Kalihi Valley.

Also as part of the plan, Hawaii Kai could end up in the Waimanalo-Kailua voting districts.

“Their plan failed at that and I think the most spectacular fail is on the Windward and East Honolulu districts,” said Bill Hicks, Kailua Neighborhood Board chair.

Every 10 years, election maps are redrawn to accommodate for changing census data and every state lawmaker must run for reelection.

“This whole thing needs to be rejected on its face and started over again,” said Abercrombie.

But reapportionment commissioner Dylan Nonaka is defending the plan.

He said the concerns in Kalihi and other areas have been fixed, but acknowledges the geographic separation in East Honolulu remains because much of Oahu’s population over the past 10 years has moved west.

“The east side of Oahu lost a House district and it shifted out to the west side because there were districts out there with 10,000-plus more people than there should be and so it’s an adjustment that has to happen every 10 years,” said Nonaka.

The commission expects to make a final decision on Jan. 6.

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