Hawaii Redistricting Process

Congressional and Legislative

The Hawaii Reapportionment Commission draws the congressional and state legislative districts. It is a nine-member politically appointed commission. The Senate President and the House Speaker each name two Commissioners. The minority leaders each choose one of their members and those members each select two Commissioners. The ninth member, who serves as the chair, is chosen by the eight members within 30 days of their appointment by a vote of at least six. If the Commissioners cannot agree on a ninth member, the ninth member is selected by the state Supreme Court.

No more than 100 days after the members are selected, the commission must give public notice of a plan they have prepared and proposed. At least one public hearing on the proposed plan shall be held in each basic island unit. After the last public hearing, but no more than 150 days from the naming of the Commissioners, the members must send map plans for legislative and congressional districts to the Chief Election Officer. Maps are passed by a simple majority of Commissioners. These districts become law once the maps are published by the Chief Election Officer. Commissioners remain in office until their maps become law.

Changes to the maps are litigated in the State Supreme Court.

Source: Haw. Const. art. IV, §§ 2, 10. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 25-2.

Previous Redistricting Cycles


  • Congressional
  • Legislative
    • Commission’s Original Plans
      • Adopted = September 26, 2011
    • Litigation History
      • Matsukawa v. State of Hawaii 2011 Reapportionment Comm’n, 126 Haw. 283 (Haw. 2012): Plaintiffs invoked the state Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction to challenge the commission’s filed legislative plans as violating the Hawaii Constitution. On January 4, 2012, the Hawaii Supreme Court issued an order striking down the adopted legislative plans on the grounds it failed to exclude non-permanent residents in the population base used for apportionment as is mandated by the Hawaii Constitution, and ordered the Commission to adopt a new plan.
      • Kostick v. Nago, 960 F.Supp.2d 1074 (D. Haw. 2013): Plaintiffs challenged the commission’s remedial legislative plan on the grounds the use of a permanent resident only basis for reapportionment violated the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. On July 11, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii ruled in favor of the defendants, finding that apportionment based upon permanent residents only was constitutional and that the plan’s population deviations were permissible.


Ballot Measure Process

Kinds of Ballot Measures
Only the Hawaii Legislature may refer amendments to the ballot. There is no initiative or referendum process.

Source: Haw. Const. art. XVII.

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