Hawaii enacts new state legislative districts

Hawaii enacted new legislative districts on Jan. 28, 2022, when the Hawaii Reapportionment Commission voted 8-1 to approve a legislative map proposal. The maps will take effect for Hawaii’s 2022 state legislative elections.

The commission’s Technical Committee Permitted Interaction Group initially presented the state legislative map plans to the commission for consideration on Oct. 14, 2021. The map plans were approved for public comment on Oct. 28. The commission approved a motion on Jan. 6 to modify the legislative map plans after learning the initial plans had not properly accounted for the number of nonpermanent resident personnel on military installations in the state, who are not included in legislative redistricting. Under the modified proposal, one legislative district moved from Oahu to Hawaii.

Commission Chairman Mark Mugiishi said the maps were drawn fairly. “I do believe the principle of the democratic process is a fair and well-run election,” Mugiishi said. Commissioner Cal Chipchase said, “They follow a long iteration of taking into account the best available data that we have received, and have been responsive to community concerns and questions where practicable.” Commissioner Robin Kennedy, who cast the only vote against the new maps, said, “I feel the community still doesn’t have the answers it needs.” Sandy Ma of Common Cause Hawaii said, “The proposed final maps do not take community concerns or testimonies into account and it still splits communities of interest.”

Thirty-one states have adopted legislative district maps for both chambers, and one state has adopted maps that have not yet gone into effect as of Feb. 4. The state supreme court in one state has overturned previously enacted maps, and 17 states have not yet adopted legislative redistricting plans after the 2020 census.

Nationwide, legislative redistricting has been completed for 1,305 of 1,972 state Senate seats (66.2%) and 2,976 of 5,411 state House seats (55.0%).

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