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Redistricting Proposal Approved by Maui Charter Commission

The Maui County Charter Commission on Thursday voted to propose a County Charter amendment that would significantly change the voting process for County Council elections.  

If ratified by voters during the November 2022 election, the proposal would change the current countywide “at-large” election process in which all county voters select all nine councilmembers, to a system where voters would elect councilmembers from within three “regional districts”, each district comprised of three residency areas. The proposal for the three regional districts are: (1) Wailuku-Kahului and island of Molokaʻi, (2) South Maui, West Maui and island of Lānaʻi, and (3) Upcountry, Makawao-Pāʻia-Haʻikū and East Maui.

Under this proposed method, residents in those regional districts would vote for council members residing in the three council residency areas within each district. So, in the first district, voters from Wailuku, Kahului, and Molokaʻi would elect the councilmembers from those three residency areas. The district election would be “at-large,” meaning all voters from that district would vote for the Wailuku, Kahului, and Molokaʻi council seats. 

The Charter Commission also approved a proposal to create a County Reapportionment Commission that would be tasked with drawing the boundaries of the regional districts and residency areas based on the recently completed census.  The commission would be able to initiate that work after the November, 2022 election if approved by the voters. Thereafter, boundaries would be reviewed every ten years to ensure that the regional districts remain proportioned equally.

“The commission attempted to balance the need for adequate representation of the county’s many diverse and unique communities with the presently prohibitive costs to running a county-wide campaign for council. This new approach will continue to ensure our many communities are well represented while also complying with constitutional requirements for equal representation,” Commission Chair Lance Collins said.

The 11-person citizen’s committee is seeking public input for its year-long review of Maui County’s governing document, the Maui County charter. L-R: Lance D. Collins (Makawao) – Commission Chair and Grant Y.M. Chun (Wailuku) – Commission Vice Chair. Maui Now file photos

A key goal is to improve candidate recruitment by making it easier for first time candidates to run, he said.

The next Maui Charter Commission meeting is scheduled for Sept. 16, starting at 9 a.m. and will cover, among other things, whether to adopt “rank choice voting” as the method for Council Elections, and Theme D – Budget and Finance and Theme E – Ethics.  Due to Covid-19 restrictions, all meetings are held via BlueJeans.

The Commission wants to hear input from the public on these, and other, important topics concerning Maui County government.  However, video or phone testimony during the meeting will only be accepted on the topics on the Commission’s agenda. 

For more information, agendas, and to join a meeting via BlueJeans follow the link on the Charter Commission website mauicounty.gov/CharterCommission.  The public is also encouraged to send written testimony via email to  Charter.Commission@mauicounty.gov, or utilize the simple online survey available at MauiCharterSurvey.org.

Original source: https://mauinow.com/2021/09/04/redistricting-proposal-approved-by-maui-charter-commission/

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