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Meetings today to showcase political maps

New political boundaries for federal, state and county elective offices are almost complete, and today, Hawaii County residents have an opportunity to weigh in on all of them.

The county Redistricting Commission, charged with drawing new districts for nine County Council members, last Tuesday devoted almost six hours to tweaking one census block here, another there, before postponing the final decision on a draft map until a meeting set for 9:30 a.m. today. The public can view the meeting at https://bit.ly/3E7GU2P.

The Hawaii Island Advisory Council of the state Reapportionment Commission, meanwhile,will hold an online meeting at 6 p.m. this evening to take input on plans for boundary lines for state House and Senate as well as the U.S. House that the commission has adopted. Printed maps are available for viewing at public libraries. The public can view the meeting at https://bit.ly/2ZxOWDb.

The county Redistricting Commission is eager to get the public involved. Having wrapped up a series of district public hearings to gather public input, commissioners hope that public interest will increase once there’s an actual proposed map to view.

“I sat in on all but two of the district meetings,” said Commissioner Stephen Lopez. “Most of them, we waited and waited and waited and we didn’t get testimony, at most of them.”

The commission is racing to finish its proposed map in time to have printed 3-foot-by-4-foot copies at all 12 state libraries on the island prior to public hearings at County Council chambers in Hilo and Kona, Dec. 14 and Dec. 16. The large-format maps will also be available at the public hearings, where the public can attend in person or by videoconference.

The commission is working to make each of the nine council districts as close to the ideal 22,232 people per district as possible. Districts shouldn’t deviate more than 10% above or below that ideal, nor should the difference between the most populated and least populated.

Currently, the difference between most and least populated stands at 19.38%. Ideal districts follow permanent and easily recognized features like rivers and roads, are compact and contiguous and don’t split neighborhoods of similar interest.

Email Nancy Cook Lauer at ncook-lauer@westhawaiitoday.com.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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