[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Wednesday issued an order [order, PDF] enjoining Hawaii from counting recent election ballots pending a final ruling from the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website]. The Justice Anthony Kennedy previously blocked the counting of ballots [JURIST report] on Friday when the nonprofit organization Na’i Aupuni [advocacy website] concluded an election that would create an assembly of delegates exclusively selected by voters with native ancestry. Though the election has had federal and state support, many Hawaiian citizens found the election to be discriminatory and unconstitutional. The state and Na’i Aupuni defended the election, claiming that it was private in nature and a crucial step towards achieving a Native Hawaiian government. The Na’i Aupuni has extended [AP report] the voting deadline to December 21 and has expressed their belief that the federal appeals court will allow the election to proceed.
The court action regarding the election follows efforts to provide native Hawaiians with the right of self-determination. In 2011 Hawaii enacted Act 195 [text], which authorized the creation of a race-based voter roll to be used for an election of delegates to a Native Hawaiian convention [brief, PDF]. In July 2012 the Native Hawaiian Role Commission (NHRC) founded [Judicial Watch report] the Kanaʻiolowalu project [advocacy website], which now has more than 125,000 registrants. The objective of the Kana’iolowalu project is “to reunify Native Hawaiians in the self-recognition of their unrelinquished sovereignty.” In late October, a judge for the US District Court for the District of Hawaii ruled that the Na’i Aupuni election may take place [JURIST report].