Community Farmland Petition Fails to Get Enough Signatures

June 14, 2016, 7:29 AM HST · Updated June 14, 7:31 AM
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The Office of the County Clerk has certified that the Community Farmland Council has not collected the required amount of valid signatures needed to advance to the Council.  The petition sought to establish a program to acquire and lease agricultural lands.

Maui County clerk Danny Mateo said that out of more than 18,000 signatures collected, only 40% or 7,305 signatures were deemed valid.

Organic Farm Land Initiative graphic.

Organic Farm Land Initiative graphic.

“On April 18, the Community Farmland Council submitted an initiative petition that contained 11,339 signatures, and a supplemental petition on June 1 that contained 6,827 signatures,” Mateo said.

“Our office has reviewed both submissions and determined that 7,305 registered voters in the County of Maui have signed the petitions, while 10,861 signatures have been deemed invalid.”

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Twenty percent of the total number of voters who cast ballots in the last mayoral general election, or 9,201 registered voters, were required to sign the petition to have it formally submitted to the Council.

“Our office has carefully and diligently reviewed each line of the petitions to ensure a thorough and fair review for all sides of the issue,” said Mateo.

As examples, Mateo noted that signatures may be deemed invalid due to duplicate signatures, insufficient or incorrect information provided, or illegible handwriting.  Signatures would also be counted as invalid if a signer was not registered to vote in the County of Maui.

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According to the Charter requirements, each individual signing the petition must also provide their printed name and place of residence.

“Our office looks forward in assisting the public to utilize their rights as citizens of Maui County,” said Mateo. “We will continue to provide fair and unbiased assistance on all issues presented to us.”

Mateo said the ratio between valid and invalid signatures on the Community Farmland Council petition is fairly consistent with previous initiative petitions made in other counties in the State of Hawaii.

The 2014 GMO petition in Maui County submitted by the SHAKA Movement had approximately 46% of those signatures deemed valid.

Additionally, the Hawaii County Clerk’s Office received initiative petitions in 2006 and 2008, where approximately 45% of those signatures were deemed valid in each year, respectively.

In comparison, the validity rate for the Community Farmland Council’s petitions is approximately 40%.

To access the Maui County Charter or to find additional information, visitwww.mauicounty.gov/clerk.

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