Hawaiian Government setting up Jim Crow-style election where white residents aren’t allowed to vote

Hawaiian Government setting up Jim Crow-style election where white residents aren’t allowed to vote

Yes, folks, you read that right. The Hawaiian Government is actually ALLOWING this to happen. Don’t worry, though, a good judge has stepped in and actually mandated this clown show:

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It’s bad enough having a state hold an election that is racially discriminatory. Now we have a judge willing to allow it to move forward.

That would be federal district court Judge J. Michael Seabright (a George W. Bush appointee, surprisingly enough). He’s refused to issue an injunction to stop an election in Hawaii to set up a separate government that excludes anyone who doesn’t meet the state’s definition of “Native Hawaiian.”

Seabright’s deplorable decision in Akina v. State of Hawaii is on an emergency appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals—which, unfortunately, doesn’t always seem to believe in following Supreme Court precedent.

Meanwhile, voting has already started in Hawaii. The election is intended to select delegates to a convention, which will draw up “governance documents” for a Native Hawaiian government. Registration to vote was restricted to “Native Hawaiians,” who are defined as only those whose ancestors lived on the Hawaiian Islands prior to 1778—and even then only to those willing to confirm a statement affirming “the unrelinquished sovereignty of the Native Hawaiian people.” Voting by mail started on November 1 and runs through the end of the month.

The lawsuit was filed by Judicial Watch on behalf of six residents of Hawaii, several of whom actually meet the ancestry requirement. However, they could not register to vote because they refused to agree to the prerequisite for registering—agreeing with the statement about the “unrelinquished sovereignty of the Native Hawaiian people.” Two of the plaintiffs are also native Hawaiians who were registered without their knowledge or consent.

This is the second time that Hawaii has tried to conduct such a restrictive election, which resembles the whites-only elections held in some parts of the South before the Civil Rights movement began in the 1950s. And the U.S. Supreme Court has already told Hawaii it could not do this the first time it tried.

In Rice v. Cayetano, Hawaii restricted the residents of the state who were allowed to register to vote for trustees for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, a department of the state government, as well as to vote in a special election that asked whether Hawaiians should elect delegates to propose a native Hawaiian government. This latter issue is the identical issue present in the current case, as is the definition of native Hawaiians.

This definition that the state of Hawaii “implicates the odious ‘one drop rule’ contained in the racial-segregation codes of the 19th and early 20th centuries,” according to Peter Kirsanow, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Or as former Justice John Paul Stevens ironically pointed out in his dissent in another case, Fullilove v. Klutznick, if a government “is to make a serious effort to define racial classes by criteria that can be administered objectively, it must study precedents such as the First Regulation to the Reich’s Citizenship Law of November 14, 1935,” which similarly defined Jews based on their ancestry.

The Supreme Court threw out Hawaii’s discriminatory registration and voting scheme in 2000 as a fundamental violation of the Fifteenth Amendment.

It criticized the state’s defense, saying it was using ancestry as a proxy for race and was based on “the demeaning premise that citizens of a particular race are somehow more qualified than others to vote on certain matters.” The state’s “reasoning attacks the central meaning of the Fifteenth Amendment”:

There is no room under the Amendment for the concept that the right to vote in a particular election can be allocated based on race. Race cannot qualify some and disqualify others from full participation in our democracy.

Judge Seabright refused to enjoin this latest Jim Crow-type election because he claims it is an entirely private election, not a state election and will “not result in any state officials, law, or change in state government.” Seabright essentially dismisses the involvement of the state government. Thus, he says, the Rice case does not apply.

Yet not only did the state’s Office of Hawaiian Affairs provide a private nonprofit entity, Na’i Aupuni, with $2.6 million in public funds to conduct the election of delegates and the convention, but the state supplied the nonprofit with the voter registry being used. That registry was implemented under a state law, Act 195, passed in 2011 and run by a state entity, the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission. All of the commission’s members were appointed by the governor of Hawaii.

Usually if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s a freaking duck. This reeks of absolute corruption, and the sick part is, there is a JUDGE supporting this wacky system. Get real, Hawaii.

Written by Katie McGuire. Send your hate mail to the author at [email protected], or feel free to mean tweet me at @GOPKatie, where I will be sure to do very little about it.

McGuire

Writer, Blogger. Political aficionado. Addicted to all levels of government campaigns.

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