Voting for Native Hawaiian ‘Aha Opens
Ballots began to go out Sunday to the nearly 100,000 Native Hawaiian voters registered to participate in the naming of the 40 delegates in the Na’i Aupuni election of ‘aha, or constitutional convention, candidates. The selected delegates will meet in February to begin work on creating a potential self-determination governing document and ratification referendum of that governing document.
Among the 200 candidates are 32 individuals running for seven Big Island seats, including, in alphabetical order: Solomon Aikau, Moanikeala Akaka, Alvin Akina Jr., Chad Awai, Fredrico Cachola Jr., Clarence Ching, Keoni Choy, Kalikookalani Chun, Desiree Cruz, Kaipo Dye, Norine Fitzgerald, Faye Hanohano-Kaawaloa, Lunakanawai Hauanio, Thomas Hickcox, Pua Ishibshi, Craig Kahui, Amy Kalili, Katie Kamlamela, Clifford Kapong, Manuel Kiaha, Lei Kihoi, Harlan Lee, Ralph Lee Jr., Joshua Lanakila Mangauil, Judy Moa, Shane Palacat-Nelsen, Kahiolani Papalimu, Shawn Rivera, Michael Stevens, Diana Suganuma, Michalann Rae Trainer, Kanoe Wilson, and Karyle Yamane.
On Wednesday, Na’i Aupuni released a statement addressing some of the concerns against the process, including Native Hawaiian protests against it.
“Na‘i Aupuni encourages Native Hawaiians to voice their opinion on the election process because the voters and delegate candidates should hear all voices,” the statement read. “However, the fact that some Native Hawaiians protest because they are concerned that their desired outcome will not be accepted emphasizes the need for a Native Hawaiian convention.
“Without a process where elected leaders can discuss various options and issues to find a consensus, the Native Hawaiian community will never proceed forward in unity. The outcome of the Na‘i Aupuni process, which involves 90,000 potential voters and 200 candidates, cannot be predetermined, but it will be an important first step toward achieving Native Hawaiian solidarity.”
Voting opened on Nov. 1, and all ballots, being sent through the United States Postal Service, must be returned by Nov. 30.
Results from the election will be announced on Dec. 1.
Registered individuals may check the Kanaiolowalu website to make sure they have been added. Anyone who did not receive a ballot should contact the independent organization overseeing the election, Elections America, at [email protected] or by phone at (844) 413-2929.