WHO CAN VOTE FOR OHA?
Every registered voter in the State of Hawaii may vote in OHA elections as per the United State's Supreme Court (Rice v. Cayetano, 2000). You do not need to be a Native Hawaiian to vote for OHA.
SHOULD NON-HAWAIIANS VOTE FOR OHA?
Yes, it is Pua's contention that OHA does not exist in a vacuum. OHA is a 400 million dollar trust, it is among the largest landowners in the state, it has a 75 million dollar operating budget, much of which comes from the state legislature. The state financial pie is only so large and every agency competes for funding. What OHA receives means less in the pan for others. Any increase in funding to OHA may mean less for agencies such at the state hospital system, the University of Hawaii, and Department of Land and Natural Resources. Accordingly, what happens at OHA may and often does impact the State of Hawaii and You. Pua believes every registered voter in Hawaii has a vested interest in OHA and should participate in OHA elections.
HOW CAN I VOTE RESPONSIBLY?
Although Pua believes everyone should vote, he also feels it is important to vote responsibly.
That everyone should take the time and energy to determine who would be the best candidate to move OHA forward. Your vote counts and will determine the course of OHA for years to come.
Here are some tips from Pua on how to vote responsibly:
(1) Know the Issues.
Know and understand OHA's mission to uplift the Hawaiian Community. Understand the issues impacting OHA and the Hawaiian Community. Determine what issues resonates with you. Once you know what is important to you, identify a candidate who shares your concerns and has a clear game plan to address those issues moving forward.
(2) Research the Candidates.
Know what each candidate stands for, brings to the table, and how they will move OHA forward.
Review candidate articles, completed candidate surveys, and non biased information from reputable sources such as news outlets. DO NOT get all of your information from social media. Review candidate platforms, visions, and plans on candidate websites. You can also tell a lot about a Candidate by who endorses them. Endorsements from powerful career politicians may indicate alignment with that politician's power structure and agenda, for good or bad.
(3) Be Skeptical.
Political candidates will often say what voters want to hear. Find out how they plan to accomplish the goals they promote in their campaigns. Candidates need to articulate how they plan to address each issue and not simply list down what the issues are. Research their track record if available. If a candidate is an incumbent (currently in office), check out how they voted on past issues or if they were conveniently absent when controversial issues were voted on.
(4) All that Glitters is Not Gold.
A beautiful website, a pretty face, slick advertising, and endorsements from famous people, does not, in itself, make a candidate. Make sure your vote is based on a candidate's character, position on issues, and a clear vision on how they will move OHA forward.
(5) Vote Responsibly.
You cannot simply go with your gut (na'au), you can only go with your na'au after you do your due diligence. Voting responsibly means makng a choice from a standpoint of informed consideration with an eye toward what would be in the best interest of OHA and the Hawaiian Community.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK, DECIDE WISELY, THEN VOTE WITH CONFIDENCE.
VOTE, ITS NOT ONLY YOUR RIGHT, IT'S YOUR KULEANA.