Maui Business

Preliminary Injunction Filed to Halt “Biased” Hawai‘i Election

August 31, 2015, 2:25 PM HST
* Updated August 31, 2:34 PM
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By Maui Now Staff

The plaintiffs in the suit against the State of Hawai‘i and its agencies to stop the racially exclusive election and constitutional convention to establish a Native Hawaiians-only nation have filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, according to a press release from the Grassroot Institute of Hawai‘i.

The motion asks the court to put the election on hold until after a decision is reached  in Keli‘i Akina, et al vs. The State of Hawai‘i, et al.

The group of four Native Hawaiians and two non-Native Hawaiians who filed the suit against the election are asking that all the groups involved—Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Na‘i Aupuni and the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission—be prevented from engaging in voter registration or calling and holding elections while the case is ongoing.

“It is imperative to stop draining public funds on a racially discriminatory process that the majority of Native Hawaiians have chosen not to endorse, especially while the needs of native Hawaiians for housing, jobs, education and health go underfunded,” said Keli‘i Akina, Ph.D., president of the Grassroot Institute and one of the Native Hawaiian plaintiffs.


In the memorandum supporting the motion, the plaintiffs argue that that the election “violates the First, Fourth and Fifteenth Amendments, and the Voting Rights Act.” They further argue that to allow the election process to move forward would cause both the plaintiffs and the citizens of the state irreparable harm, citing the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion that, “[a]n alleged constitutional infringement will often alone constitute irreparable harm.”


Working closely with the Grassroot Institute, the case is being brought forward by Judicial Watch, a public-interest law firm, with local representation by Michael Lilly, former Hawai‘i Attorney General.

“There is no doubt that Hawai‘i is abusing tax dollars on a separatist campaign that discriminates on the basis of race and viewpoint,” claims Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch. “Right now, US citizens are being denied access to the right to vote explicitly because of their race and their points of view. This dangerous, divisive scheme can’t be halted soon enough by the courts.”

“Many Native Hawaiians have come forward to state their objections to being put on the roll without their permissions,” said Dr. Akina. “Others, like I, object to the roll’s effort to exclude those who do not endorse a specific set of beliefs about Hawaiian sovereignty. To pretend that this election represents and honest effort to embody the voice of native Hawaiians is disingenuous.”


A copy of the motion and memorandum can be downloaded from the Grassroot Institute’s website.

To see the original complaint, go online.

Grassroot Institute of Hawai‘i is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, the free market and limited, accountable government throughout Hawai‘i and the Asia-Pacific region. Find more information online.


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