Method of electing council members must change
Two important issues which impact the way we vote will get little coverage this election year. The first one, which thousands of residents have expressed support for in the past, yet our elected County Council and appointed Charter Commission continually block any effort for progressive reform, is the idea to have distinct, separate district council races. The current unfair, patently discriminatory and undemocratic at-large system which now exists for electing our council needs to change.
Why should one district of a few thousand residents have one council member while other districts of 30,000-plus voters also have only one representative? The United States Constitution and numerous Supreme Court decisions require equal populations based on the most recent census.
Equally populous districts are necessary if voters are to have an evenly weighted voice in the election of representatives. The cost of standing for office on three islands requires exorbitant amounts of money. Why should residents of Kihei vote for the representative from Wailuku, or Upcountry residents vote for the member from Lahaina?
Another progressive change would be to establish a method of preferential, ranked choice or instant run-off voting, especially in our local nonpartisan races, allowing voters to rank their preferences when there are more than two people on the ballot. By having one vote in November, we could avoid the low turnout in the primaries and be saving money, which taxpayers like, by eliminating them altogether.