Big Island Democrats Challenge Redistricting Plan in Supreme Court

Nanea Kalani/Civil Beat

As promised, Big Island Sen. Malama Solomon and three other Democrats have sued the Hawaii Reapportionment Commission over the panel's decision to count most non-resident military and out-of-state college students when drawing new political districts for the state.

The lawsuit claims the move is unconstitutional and has cost the Big Island an additional Senate seat it would otherwise gain due to population growth.

Hilo attorney Stanley Roehrig, a former state legislator, said he filed the lawsuit electronically Monday in Supreme Court. (A copy of the suit is embedded below.)

In addition to Solomon, the suit was filed on behalf of Patricia Cook, Louis Hao and Steven Pavao, members of the Hawaii County Committee of the state Democratic Party.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie, the Office of Elections, Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago and the Reapportionment Commission's nine members, are named as respondents.

"We recognized that because the population on the Big Island grew by about 25 percent in 10 years, and Oahu's population only grew by .8 percent in the same time period, that there was a strong likelihood we'd get more representation in the state Legislature just based on the Census numbers," Roehrig said. "As the commission began doing their job, it became obvious that we had a fight on our hands."

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