- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 25, 2014

LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) - Kauai won’t draw new voting districts for electing county council members.

The Kauai County Charter Review Commission on Monday rejected three proposals that would have given voters the chance to split the island into districts for electing council members.

Supporters of the measures hoped to make council members responsible to residents of specific areas, The Garden Island newspaper reported (https://bit.ly/1nYeUVS).

Opponents said creating different districts would divide the island. They also said redistricting might push localized concerns ahead of the island’s general welfare.

In Kauai now, voters elect seven at-large candidates to represent the whole county.

“It seems to me that, of all the options under consideration, none of them have risen to the top as superior to the current system,” Charter Review Commissioner Jan TenBruggencate said. “In lacking a superior option, I don’t think we should just throw something out there just to see if people will vote for it because it’s a serious matter - it does change the fundamental form of our government and how we work.”

The proposals took three different approaches to redistricting.

The first would have split Kauai into seven separate council districts. The second would have created four districts while leaving voters to select the other three council members at-large. The third proposal would have resembled Maui’s system, giving all voters a say on council members from seven districts.

The commission’s rejection of those measures means none will be put to a countywide vote. That concludes, for now, the question of whether to create districts, a point of discussion on Kauai for the past several months.

“Kauai is still small enough where we can get to know our council members and they, in turn, can represent all of Kauai,” Koloa resident Phyllis Kunimura wrote to the Charter Review Commission. “We still have differing views and concerns, but through the democratic process, government works.”


Information from: The Garden Island, https://thegardenisland.com/

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