East Hawaii News

Federal Judge Allows Native Hawaiian Election to Proceed

October 23, 2015, 3:47 PM HST
* Updated November 19, 1:42 PM
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November’s Native Hawaiian Election to elect delegates for a convention that could lead to self-governance will go on as planned.

U.S.District Court Judge J. Michael Seabright ruled against a lawsuit that was filed to stop the election from taking place. The lawsuit argued that it was unconstitutional for the state to have any kind of involvement in a race-based election.

According to the Associated Press, Jusge Seabright ruled that the election is a private poll, not run by the state. That comes even after the state said that it was only involved in getting Native Hawaiians to sign up to participate.

“We are very pleased that the court honors and respects the right of Native Hawaiians to self-determination,” said Na‘i Aupuni president Kuhio Asam. “We are further pleased that the court upholds and supports Na‘i Aupuni’s right to host a private, independent election of delegates to a convention that has the opportunity to formulate governing documents.  As planned, we are proceeding with the election commencing on November 1 and encourage all Hawaiians who have been certified to participate through their vote.  Their vote is our future.”

In August, the lawsuit was filed by two non-Hawaiians who are not eligible to vote and four Native Hawaiians who said their First Amendment rights were violated.

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The lawsuit was filed against Na’i Apuni, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the State of Hawai’i.

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