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Hale Pai
Pacific American-News Journal

Kepakemapa - September 1996 Volume 2 Issue 9

 Hawaiian Vote

A signal for Caution

Caution is the watchword to be gleaned from the results of the Native Hawaiian Vote released.

The vote tally suggests strong sentiment in favor of a convention to propose a Native Hawaiian government. But to say that represents the majority opinion of Hawaiians or that all hold the same vision is saying far more than we know.

Only 33,000 out of 82,000 ballots were mailed back. That is a return of 40 percent, much lower than the 73 percent return in the 1994 Office of Hawaiian Affaires election.

Whether because of apathy confusion, or a protest of the Native Hawaiian Vote itself, the return suggests people may have wanted more information. It may also suggest a clear division within the Hawaiian community over holding the vote at all.

Additionally, about a fourth of the eligible ballots rejected the idea of a convention. That is no small number in any

tally and should give pause to convention supporters.

The Native Hawaiian Vote tracks results of the Advertiser's Hawaii Poll that suggest Hawaiians generally favor sovereignty, but that they want to learn more about it and worry about its ramification.

One could draw the same conclusion from the latest tally. As the process moves forward, everyone - Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian alike - should bear this in mind and proceed with care.

Many Hawaiians are ready to move forward on the road to sovereignty, but a significant number are choosing to tarry.

If the process of Hawaiian self-determination is to be truly representative, then efforts must be made to bring as many as possible to the table.

If the process is to be successful, it cannot end in isolation or separation of Hawaiians from each other and the rest of the community.

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Copyright 1996 Hale Pai Pacific American-News Journal
Last modified: February 28, 1998

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