But even though City Council offices have been nonpartisan for nearly 20 years, a Honolulu charter provision says that no more than five of the nine members of the reapportionment commission may come from the same political party.
Should the requirement be repealed that no more than five of the City Council Reapportionment Commission’s nine members be from the same political party?
If it passes, appointments to the reapportionment commission would be made without limits based on party affiliation.
But there is opposition.
Common Cause Hawaii, a nonpartisan, grassroots group dedicated to protecting and improving the political process, warns that eliminating the party cap would make it easier “to manipulate” City Council elections because it “removes a safeguard that helps to ensure fairness.”
Executive Director Corie Tanida said in a press release last month, “While the races are nonpartisan, the candidates are not and their affiliations with parties are well known. If this proposal passes, the foxes will guard the henhouse and one party could use its power to turn City Council redistricting into one more partisan political battleground instead of ensuring fair representation for our communities.”
Potentially, all nine members of the reapportionment commission could come from the same party and possibly draw district boundaries to favor their candidates.
“Voters should select their lawmakers, not the other way around,” she said.
Hawaii politics have been dominated by the Democratic Party for half a century.
Hawaii Elections Guide 2016
• Stay plugged in to campaigns and candidates this election season with Civil Beat’s Hawaii Elections Guide 2016, your source for information on federal, state and local elections.
A conservative faction of the state Republican Party also opposed charter amendment No. 19, and for the same reason: a fear of gerrymandering.
There are 20 charter amendment questions in total for City and County of Honolulu voters.
A “yes” vote means a voter is in favor of the amendment and the County Charter will be changed as proposed. A “no” vote means a voter is against the amendment and the charter will not be changed.
Blank votes are not counted, and a simple majority of votes will cause the amendment to pass or fail.
Click here to learn more about the 20 ballot questions.
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