Native Hawaiian organization extends voting deadline by three weeks

Na‘i Aupuni, the Native Hawaiian organization with a mission to establish a path to Native Hawaiian self-determination, announced Monday it is extending the deadline to vote to midnight Monday, Dec. 21.

The decision by U.S. Supreme court associate justice Anthony Kennedy on Friday, Nov. 27, temporarily stayed the vote count and certification of the elected delegates, but did not stop voting.

“While we can immediately notify those who provided their email addresses to Election-America that the voting period is extended, it will take longer to effectively provide notice to mail-only voters, so we are extending the deadline by three weeks to provide time for voters to receive our notice and to vote,” said Bill Meheula, legal counsel for Na‘i Aupuni. “As we await a decision by SCOTUS, we strongly encourage those who have not yet voted to cast their ballots.

“We feel strongly that the Supreme Court will agree with Judge Seabright that the plaintiffs are not entitled to enjoin our election. We urge voters to use this extension to participate in this opportunity to unify Hawaiians,” Meheula added.

For more information, visit naiaupuni.org.

The public policy think-tank Grassroot Institute of Hawaii challenged the election, arguing it’s unconstitutional because non-Hawaiians are not allowed to vote.

In a statement released after news of the extension of the deadline, institute president Kelii Akina said “the decision to extend the election — despite an injunction from the country’s highest court preventing the counting of ballots — continues to divert public funds from meeting the real needs of Hawaiians for housing, education, job opportunities, and health care.

“OHA and Na‘i Aupuni have broken faith with Native Hawaiians,” said Akina, who is also one of four Native Hawaiian plaintiffs in the suit filed by Judicial Watch and former Hawaii Attorney General Michael Lilly.

“It is a mistake to underestimate the significance of Justice Kennedy’s injunction and the compelling rationale for his intervention,” Akina said. “Fortunately, we are confident that our position will prevail, and the state’s wasteful and divisive nation-building process will come to an end.”

To see all the filings and documents associated with this case, click here. 

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