Extension of Race-Based Hawaiian Election Reveals Inherent Flaws
Grassroot Institute criticizes Na’i Apuni for breaking trust with Hawaiians
News Release from Grassroot Institute
HONOLULU, HAWAII--Nov. 30, 2015--Today, the Grassroot Institute raised significant concerns about Na’i Aupuni's decision to continue wasting public funds on a race-based Native Hawaiian election in light of a US Supreme Court injunction related to the case of Akina v. Hawaii which prevents the counting of ballots. In comments that highlighted the problems that have dogged the election process from its inception, Grassroot President Keli'i Akina, Ph.D. questioned whether the nation-building effort truly has the best interests of Native Hawaiians as its top priority.
"The decision to extend the election--despite an injunction from the country's highest court preventing the counting of ballots--continues to divert public funds from meeting the real needs of Hawaiians for housing, education, job opportunities, and health care," stated Dr. Akina. "The Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Na’i Aupuni have refused to listen to the clear message that a majority of the Hawaiian people do not support this racially exclusive effort. They have now chosen to ignore a further indication from a Supreme Court justice that their process needs review. In the wake of low participation by Native Hawaiians and likely low voter turn-out, they are taking advantage of a delay they earlier claimed they could not afford."
"OHA and Na’i Aupuni have broken faith with Native Hawaiians," continued Dr. Akina, who is also one of four Native Hawaiian plaintiffs in the suit filed by Judicial Watch and former Hawaii Attorney General Michael Lilly.
Dr. Akina concluded, "It is a mistake to underestimate the significance of Justice Kennedy's injunction and the compelling rationale for his intervention. Fortunately, we are confident that our position will prevail, and the state's wasteful and divisive nation-building process will come to an end."
To see all the filings and documents associated with this case, go to: http://new.grassrootinstitute.org/2015/10/akina-v-hawaii-the-documents/
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NAʻI AUPUNI EXTENDS VOTING DEADLINE BY THREE WEEKS
News Release from Na’i Aupuni November 30, 2015
HONOLULU – Na‘i Aupuni, the Native Hawaiian organization with a mission to establish a path to Native Hawaiian self-determination, announced today it is extending the deadline to vote to December 21.
“Because voters may not have cast their ballots over concerns and questions on the recent U.S. Supreme Court's (SCOTUS) decision to temporarily stop the vote count, we are extending the voting deadline to December 21, midnight Hawaii time," said Bill Meheula, legal counsel for Na‘i Aupuni.
The SCOTUS decision temporarily stayed the vote count and certification of the elected delegates, but did not stop voting.
"While we can immediately notify those who provided their email addresses to Election-America that the voting period is extended, it will take longer to effectively provide notice to mail-only voters, so we are extending the deadline by three weeks to provide time for voters to receive our notice and to vote," he said. "As we await a decision by SCOTUS, we strongly encourage those who have not yet voted to cast their ballots."
Na‘i Aupuni is confident the court will find in their favor. "We feel strongly that the Supreme Court will agree with Judge Seabright that the plaintiffs are not entitled to enjoin our election. We urge voters to use this extension to participate in this opportunity to unify Hawaiians," Meheula added. .
Na‘i Aupuni also wanted to remind voters the protest by some against the ‘Aha process are based on unfounded fears of loss of the ceded land and any chance of independence. "Nothing is predetermined about the 'Aha. This is an opportunity to talk about all forms of government, including independence and any recommendation will be taken back to the voters," said Meheula.