TAKAI AGAIN CALLS FOR MILITARY IN HAWAII REAPPORTIONMENT
SCOTUS ruling confirms “one person one vote” standard for states
News Release from Office of Mark Takai April 4, 2016
WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Mark Takai issued the following statement after the Supreme Court of the United States issued a unanimous decision in Evenwel v. Abbott, confirming that states must count all residents, regardless of voting eligibility, when drawing election districts. Takai was among the plaintiffs in the 2014 case that challenged Hawaii’s reapportionment for excluding military personnel and their families.
“Today, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that states should be using the “one person one vote” methodology, and not excluding anyone during the reapportionment process. Hawaii continues to wrongfully leave out more than 108,000 military members, their families and university students. It is time to bring our reapportionment practice in line with 48 other states, and ensure everyone is included equally,” Takai said.
In 2014, Takai joined a diverse coalition of civilian and military Hawaii residents challenged the exclusion of service members and families from Hawaii’s reapportionment. The case argued that the policy led to skewed districts and restricted military, their families, and students from the representational equality principle. The federal court disagreed, because of the 1966 ruling in Burns v. Richardson that allows Hawaii to use alternate “populations” — either all Census-counted residents, U.S. citizens, or state citizens. Military and their families are not considered Hawaii citizens because they elect to pay taxes in another state.
“The State of Hawaii never asked anyone other than military personnel where they pay taxes, meaning that non-U.S. citizens are treated as Hawaii citizens, while military residents and their families are not. Under federal law, they are counted by the Census only as Hawaii residents, and excluding them from this process means they are not counted anywhere. It’s time to include all people, regardless of their citizenship, taxpaying, or voting status,” Takai concluded.
A December 8, 2015 Honolulu Star-Advertiser opinion editorial co-authored by Takai on Evenwel v. Abbott can be viewed here.