Maui News

Maui Charter Commission to Consider Proposing Ranked-Choice Voting

September 14, 2021, 11:26 AM HST
* Updated September 14, 11:28 AM
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File photo. Maui election 2020. PC: file Cammy Clark

At its next meeting scheduled for Thursday at 9 a.m. the Maui Charter Commission will continue its discussion on Theme A, County Council Districting and Elections, among other things. 

The Charter Commission is evaluating substantial changes to our county’s Charter, and at its last meeting voted to propose a Charter amendment to create three voter districts within the County. 

At the upcoming meeting Commissioners will consider whether to adopt ranked-choice voting as the electoral system for council elections.  A ranked-choice voting system is one in which voters may rank candidates by preference on their ballots, a significant change from our current system whereby voters may only vote for one candidate in each race.  

In addition, the Charter Commission will consider suggestions on Theme D, Budget and Finance, including a proposal that would change the County budget process from an annual one to one taking place every other year; a proposal to increase the minimum Open Space Preservation fund allotment from 1% to 2% of real property tax revenue; a proposal to require consultation with the Cultural Resources commission when accessing those funds; and various other proposals related to signatures and public access to Finance Department documents. 

The third agenda item for the Thursday meeting is Theme E, Ethics.  The Commission will take up several proposals related to the Board of Ethics, among them a proposal to establish an Executive Director position and provide  that person with an independent staff and legal counsel. Also on the table are residency requirements for board members, and proposals related to board and commission members’ disclosure statements. 

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The final Theme scheduled for discussion is General Provisions and Boards/Commissions (Theme F). Proposals before the Commission are seeking to change how members of boards and commissions are appointed to seats. Competing proposals would place greater appointment power within the jurisdiction of the County Council or an independent selection committee. Other proposals seek to encourage diversity in board and commission membership, change membership terms to five years, repeal political party membership as a criterion, and ensure remote videoconferencing for all meetings of boards and commissions. Several other administrative proposals are also before the Commission.

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Agenda items are subject to cancellation and will be taken up in the order listed, as time permits. The Commission will receive testimony on the topics on its agenda as it moves from one “Theme” to the next. During the meetings, the public can provide testimony via video or by telephone as the Commission takes up the various Themes. Written testimony can be sent at any time.  Due to Covid-19 restrictions public meetings will be held online via BlueJeans. 

The Charter Commission wants to hear your thoughts on these, and other, important topics concerning Maui County government.  To offer your recommendations visit mauichartersurvey.org.  The public is also encouraged to send written testimony via email to  [email protected]auicounty.gov. For more information and to join Maui Charter Commission meetings via BlueJeans follow the link on the Commission website http://www.mauicounty.gov/CharterCommission

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