Hawaii scored slightly above average nationally for a transparent and inclusive process, but still has room for improvement
HONOLULU — Today, Common Cause, the leading anti-gerrymandering group, published a report grading the redistricting process in all 50 states from the view of the community. The comprehensive report evaluates public access, outreach, and education in each state based on an analysis of more than 120 detailed surveys and more than 60 interviews.
Hawaii scored slightly above average compared to other states across the nation: a B-. The report found Hawaii produced an overall accessible, and participatory process, but noted that there were limited opportunities for public input and lack of transparency damaged the public’s trust in the process. In particular, the report highlights how increased modes of participation had a hugely positive impact, with virtual options granting more people the ability to participate, and offers suggestions for improvement. By giving the public adequate time to review all future maps and with governmental bodies investing in early redistricting engagement and outreach, Hawaii can ensure that redistricting works for all of the state’s diverse communities.
“After a close look at all 50 states, this report shows more community voices produce better maps,” said Dan Vicuña, Common Cause national redistricting director. “When everyone can meaningfully participate and have their input reflected in the final maps, that’s how we achieve fair elections voters can trust. We found voting districts that prioritize community interests are the gateway to elections that lead to strong schools, a fair economy, and affordable healthcare.”
Common Cause graded each state for its state-level redistricting. Some states received a second grade for their local redistricting process in cases where advocates provided data. Each interview and survey asked participants about the accessibility of the process, the role of community groups, the organizing landscape, and the use of communities of interest criteria.
“Redistricting can only be successful when we the people have influence over our own voting districts,” said Camron Hurt, Common Cause Hawaii’s program manager. “Redistricting determines the kind of leaders we elect, and how well they represent our views here at home and in Washington. While Hawaii has a fairly accessible process, there is still more work to be done. We must go further and ensure that moving forward, Hawaii has a fully, politically independent redistricting process that is accessible to all of our communities.”
Common Cause found the most powerful reform is independent, citizen-led commissions where voters—rather than elected officials—administer the process and hold the power of the pen to draw maps. Independent commissioners were found to be more interested in fair representation and community input— rather than electability or party control.
The report was authored by Common Cause, Fair Count, State Voices, and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI).
The report was published in collaboration with the Coalition Hub for Advancing Redistricting and Grassroots Engagement (CHARGE), which includes Common Cause, Fair Count, League of Women Voters, Mia Familia Vota, NAACP, NCAI, State Voices, APIAVote, and the Center for Popular Democracy.