Reapportionment Commission, Governor submit breifs in Hawaii redistricting challenge

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November 30, 2011

Honolulu, Hawaii: On November 25, the Hawaii Reapportionment Commission filed a brief defending the state's redrawn political lines against two legal challenges. Filed by Sen. Malama Solomon and several other Democrats, the first lawsuit challenges the Hawaii Reapportionment Commission's decision to include most of the state's non-resident population in its redistricting counts--a change of policy that cost the Big Island a new Senate seat.[1]

Unlike the first lawsuit which centers on the mere fact that non-residents were included, the second lawsuit argues that the Reapportionment Commission did not try in "good faith" to exclude non-residents. In past redistricting efforts, the state has excluded non-resident military and student populations. However, the Commission argues that it excluded all the non-residents that it could given vague data.[2]

Named as a defendant in the first challenge, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie sided with the plaintiffs and asked the court to order the Commission to start over. The Commission, in turn, asked for the cases to be dismissed and for their attorney fees to be reimbursed by the plaintiffs. The cases are being heard by the Hawaii Supreme Court.[3]

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