Hawaii Is Holding an Election That Only Allows People of Certain Racial Background to Vote

It’s bad enough having a state hold an election that is racially discriminatory. Now we have a judge willing to allow it to move forward.

That would be federal district court Judge J. Michael Seabright (a George W. Bush appointee, surprisingly enough). He’s refused to issue an injunction to stop an election in Hawaii to set up a separate government that excludes anyone who doesn’t meet the state’s definition of “Native Hawaiian.”

Seabright’s deplorable decision in Akina v. State of Hawaii is on an emergency appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals—which, unfortunately, doesn’t always seem to believe in following Supreme Court precedent.

Meanwhile, voting has already started in Hawaii. The election is intended to select delegates to a convention, which will draw up “governance documents” for a Native Hawaiian government. Registration to vote was restricted to “Native Hawaiians,” who are defined as only those whose ancestors lived on the Hawaiian Islands prior to 1778—and even then only to those willing to confirm a statement affirming “the unrelinquished sovereignty of the Native Hawaiian people.” Voting by mail started on November 1 and runs through the end of the month.