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Sunday, June 12, 2011
Voting Rights? Star-Advertiser pushes to disenfranchise Military Personnel
By Andrew Walden @ 9:50 PM :: 6831 Views :: Energy, Environment

by Andrew Walden

After years of pretending to be concerned about Hawaii's worst-in-the-nation voter participation, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, and Hawaii Tribune-Herald have today shown their true colors.

Reacting to moves by the Hawaii Reapportionment Commission to count every single human being in Hawaii for purposes of reapportionment, the Tribune-Herald’s print edition headline on an AP article about reapportionment says it all:  “Troops could cross up state lines: Reapportionment figures to favor Republicans.” 

The HTH’s headline was perfectly matched by the selectively edited four-sentence long version of the AP article appearing in today’s Star-Advertiser:

Hawaii is considering whether to start including nonresident members of the military when it redraws political boundaries this summer, a move that could maintain power on Oahu and help Republicans get elected in the Democrat-dominated state.

About 72,000 troops, their dependents and students who maintain residences outside of Hawaii were left out of counts used to shape state legislative districts a decade ago, a decision the Hawaii Reapportionment Commission is revisiting.

Because most military members live on Oahu, their addition could deny the Big Island from gaining a fourth Senate seat despite being the fastest-growing area of the state.

If out-of-state military are counted, Republicans could benefit because conservative-leaning districts surrounding bases may be split, leading to a similar number of voters choosing representatives in two districts instead of one.

This is clearly an effort to spur Democrats to oppose counting military personnel.  But there are no “Republican districts” in Hawaii. There are only two types of districts: Democrat districts and competitive districts.  Although some Republicans are elected from the Central Oahu areas perceived as military, Hawaii Democrats have a long track record of winning legislative races in Ewa, Wahiawa, and Mililani.  These districts are distinct not because they “lean Republican” but because they are politically competitive—more suitable to a moderate or even conservative candidates.  Thus the effort to disenfranchise areas subjectively deemed to be disproportionately populated by military personnel is also a factional tool by Progressive Democrats against their political opponents within the Democratic Party.

The sister islands were heavily over-represented in the 2000 reapportionment.   In spite of a requirement that there be no more than 10% deviance, Hawaii Senate districts deviated by as much as 38.9% overweighting the sister islands and giving Hawaii the most “deviant” legislative districts in the nation.  Republican legislative numbers began a long decline starting in 2002--immediately after redistricting.  Likewise, Progressive Democrats over the last decade have seized control of the Democratic Party.

Several National Guard members and Reservists serve in elected office in Hawaii representing both parties and non-partisan positions.  Testifying before the Reapportionment Commission June 9, 442nd Infantry veteran Richard Fale, who has run for office on the North Shore of Oahu pointed out:  

Sorting through different groups and deciding who to include, or who not to include in consideration for representation, I believe should be a non-issue. All should be included. Even though we have decided who can and who cannot vote, that issue should not interfere with who should get represented. My father is not a U.S. citizen, and though he does not have the right to vote, I believe he has the right to representation. Some of my younger siblings cannot vote but I believe that they should have the right to be represented and to be considered as a person when deciding who gets representation.

We know that the census only counts the actual bodies in an area. This means that all the Service members here in Hawaii, from the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, regardless of where they are from, were not counted in their home State. This means, that the only place the census takes account for them is here, because this is where they are, so this is where they will be counted.

One of the sentences left out of the Star-Advertiser version of the AP article reads:

“Only Hawaii and Kansas exclude nonresident military members from when shaping district lines.”

The beauty of this headline and the selective editing is that both demonstrate there is a bald-faced effort to disenfranchise a distinct minority—military personnel—and also a bald-faced effort by the progressives at the helm of the Star-Advertiser to weaken the representation of three political minorities—Republicans, moderate Democrats, and conservative Democrats.  Any redistricting designed to further the marginalization of social or political minorities is illegal.

The question of whether to count military personnel clearly affects the apportionment of legislative districts on Oahu.  Article IV, Section 6 of the Hawaii State Constitution reads:

“No district shall be so drawn as to unduly favor a person or political faction.”

The Star-Advertiser is following in the footsteps of the Star-Bulletin whose editors (now in control of the Star-Advertiser) in an October 13, 2009 editorial came out in opposition to voter registration drive aimed at increasing voter participation by church-goers.

This writer could find no other examples of a newspaper editorializing against a voter registration drive anywhere—perhaps some segregationist Democrat newspapers once editorialized against efforts to register black voters back in the pre-civil-rights days when Democrats controlled the South as solidly as they now control Hawaii.  Those segregationist Democrats share one thing with today’s so-called Progressives--a strong taste for social engineering.

It is not coincidental that regular church-goers and military personnel and veterans are conservative-leaning constituencies.  Clearly the Progressive Democrat media is bent on excluding any such constituency out of the political process in order to enhance their own control.  This is a sign that veterans organizations and organizations of military families need to conduct a Hawaii voter registration drive of their own to match the efforts which still continue among Hawaii church-goers.  The churches added 15,000 votes to the totals in 2010.  Could military personnel match that?

Hawaii has the most lopsided legislature in the nation with only one GOP Senator.  And it is a Senate seat on the Big Island which the Advertiser and HTH dangle as a prize to be won by disenfranchising military personnel.  Hawaii County voters last elected a Republican to the legislature in 2004.  The county is famous for having 4000--the state’s largest concentration--“medical” marijuana “patients”—and the dope pushers who serve them—none of whom are in the least danger of not being counted.  The question is whether they will again be over-weighted because the Reapportionment commission choses to subjectively exclude others.

Nobody has called for identifiable groups of non-voters such as non-citizen immigrants, or minors be excluded.  There has been no discussion of disenfranchising out-of-state students from reapportionment.  Nor has there been a call for felons, prisoners, or illegal aliens to be excluded from the count.  And nobody is suggesting that any portion of the Big Island’s population should not be counted.  The only question is whether one specific identifiable social minority—military personnel--will be excluded. 

As Fale explained:

I am very concerned about those who may or may not be included in consideration of who gets representation. Under the parameters we used for the last redistricting of the State, the following are true:

Danny Friddle who sexually assaulted an infant under the age of one, his own daughter, and received a life sentence, is counted towards those who get representation.

But SGT Malietoa Steffany, a purple heart and bronze star recipient, who tended to the wounds of his fellow Soldiers before receiving aid for the seven pieces of shrapnel lodged within his body, after being attacked with an improvised explosive device, would not be considered for representation.

Another individual living just down the road from me, convicted of 1st degree burglary and 1st degree sexual assault was counted towards those who will receive representation, but SPC Rhett who died in combat, who was part of the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield was not.

I could list for you hundreds of villains who have done many cruel and evil things throughout our communities who still deserve the right to be counted for representation, I would just hope that our heroes, our brothers and sisters who wear the uniform full time, can and should be at the very least be remembered, considered and counted towards receiving representation here in our great State of Hawaii.

The Oahu Advisory Council of the Reapportionment Commission will meet Wednesday June 15 at 8AM in the State Capitol Conference room 329.  Public testimony will be accepted. 

Following the Oahu Advisory Council meeting, at the next meeting of the Statewide Reapportionment Commission a vote will be taken on whether or not to count all humans for the purposes of reapportionment.


Reapportionment Commission

Apportionment Advisory Council for Oahu Agenda (6-15-2011)


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