Understanding Big Island’s districts


Hawaii County residents who have registered to vote should refer to the yellow card they receive this summer for details on their precinct, polling place, and which districts they live in.

It’s probably the easiest way to tell where they are situated in relation to the four Senate, seven House and nine council districts — which are all different from each other and have distinct boundaries.

Absent the cards, residents might be left squinting at maps and boundary descriptions that could leave a cartographer confused.

“The maps show the boundaries, but don’t show the names of a lot of secondary streets,” Elections Administrator Pat Nakamoto said.

In a boundary description, Council District 1 contains the following lines: “westerly along said river to unnamed road,” and “westerly along said stream to jeep trail.”

But there are online tools that could help.

The state elections website, at hawaii.gov/elections, contains a polling place locator. Registered voters are asked to punch in their name and date of birth. In return, they receive information on their polling place, precinct number, and which Congressional, Senate, House and council districts to which they belong.

The Hawaii County Council website contains a “Members and Districts” tab with both maps and detailed written descriptions of the nine districts.

Additionally, the Hawaii state Legislature’s website has a feature that allows voters to search maps and listings of their elected representatives and districts by putting in their county, street name and ZIP code.

This feature is located in the upper right hand corner of the Legislature’s home page.

A committee redraws district lines for state senators and representatives every 10 years to account for population changes recorded in the federal census. The Big Island gained its fourth Senate seat in 2012 after a legal battle that wrested one seat from Oahu. The island’s new district covers North Hawaii from Keahole Point to Honolii Stream.

Hard copies of county and state district maps are available for viewing at Hawaii County Elections Divisions offices, at 25 Aupuni St. in Hilo and at the West Hawaii Civic Center, Building B, 2nd floor, in Kailua-Kona.

Email Bret Yager at byager@westhawaiitoday.com.

 

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