Every ten years, Hawaii redraws its federal, state, and local legislative district maps. This process is meant to ensure that as populations grow and change, every Hawaii voter can have equal representation and equal voice in government.
We’re fighting for fair, transparent, and equitable redistricting at every level — advocating for legislation like the For the People Act to help end partisan gerrymandering, bringing Hawaii residents to testify at public hearings, and telling our mapmakers the story of communities across Hawaii.
Redistricting in Hawaii
In Hawaii, Congressional redistricting is controlled by the state legislature, while a seven-member commission draws state legislative lines.
When partisan politicians control the mapmaking process, we’re especially vulnerable to unfair maps — which is why it’s so important we push our lawmakers to be transparent and consider public testimony every step of the way.
Districts must comply with the provisions of the US Constitution and Voting Rights Act and keep districts reasonably equal in population. In addition, mapmakers must prioritize:
Keeping communities of interest and political subdivisions whole.
Maximizing the number of politically competitive districts
Districts may not be drawn:
To protect one or more incumbents, declared candidates, or political parties.
With intent or effect of denial/abridgement of voting rights or vote dilution because of race or membership in a language minority group.
Why Redistricting Matters for Hawaii
When done fairly, redistricting is a chance for political power to be equitably distributedacross different communities, making sure everyone has a seat at the table.
Unfortunately, redistricting has historically been conducted behind closed doors with little to no public input, meaning they don’t have an accurate picture of what our communities look like.
Even worse, when politicians have the power to draw electoral maps, they manipulate district lines to divide or pack together certain populations, keeping themselves and their party in power. It’s called gerrymandering – and it’s a major threat to our democracy.