Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Hawaii

by
In these two election contests, the Supreme Court held that 350 absentee mail-in return envelopes were “received” by the Honolulu City Clerk after the deadline established by state law, and therefore, the ballots they contained should not have been counted, thus invalidating the result of the Honolulu City Council District IV special election. The special election at issue was for councilmember for District IV held on November 6, 2018. At issue in these election contests was the 350 absentee mail-in return envelopes, which the City Clerk at the Honolulu Airport post office did not take possession of until after 6 p.m. on election day, retrieving them instead from the mail facility in pickups that occurred at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The Supreme Court held that the ballots should not have been counted, and because they exceeded the twenty-two-vote margin by which the election was decided and because they were commingled with other ballots that were validly cast, the only option was to invalidate the result of the special election. View "Waters v. Nago " on Justia Law

by
In this original proceeding challenging certain election results, the Supreme Court entered judgment in favor of the State of Hawaii, Chief Election Office Scott Nago, and the Office of Elections (collectively, the State Defendants) and against Plaintiff Matthew LoPresti, holding that Kurt Favella received the highest number of the votes case in the November 6, 2018 general election and has been elected to the Office of State Senate, District 19 pursuant to Haw. Rev. Stat. 11-155. Plaintiff filed a complaint challenging the election results for Office of State Senate, District 19, arguing, among other things, that irregularities in voting or counting of votes precluded the correct result from being ascertained and that Haw. Rev. Stat. 11-172 was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court denied relief, holding that there was no genuine issue of material fact precluding summary judgment in favor of the State Defendants. View "LoPresti v. State " on Justia Law

by
In this opinion, the Supreme Court elaborated as to its reason declaring invalid the ballot question authored by the state legislature that would approve an amendment granting the State the authority to impose a surcharge on investment real property, holding that the ballot question as written did not comply with the requirement that its language and meaning be clear and not misleading. After giving its reasoning for its decision, the Supreme Court held that the ballot question at issue was flawed on not presenting the information necessary to generate the “knowing and deliberate expression of voter choice” necessary for ratification. See Kahalekai v. Doi, 590 P.2d at 550 (Haw. 1979). View "City & County of Honolulu v. State" on Justia Law

by
In this election contest, the Supreme Court dismissed Plaintiffs’ second amended complaint against Romy Cachola, one of two Democratic Party candidates for the Office of State Representative, and Chief Election Officer Scott Nago, holding that that amended complaint failed to state claims upon which relief can be granted. Cachola received the highest number of votes in the Democratic Party race for the Office of State Representative, District 30. In their amended complaint, Plaintiffs alleged that during the course of the 2018 primary campaign Cachola committed election fraud and other election offenses and that Nago violated his duty under state law by failing to preclude vote tampering in an election and failing to comply with federal requirements in conducting an election. The Supreme Court denied relief, holding that Plaintiffs’ allegations of election fraud or vote tampering were not sufficient to constitute mistakes or errors that would change the results of the primary election, and therefore, the complaint was not legally sufficient. View "Jane & John Doe Voters 1-47 v. Cachola" on Justia Law

by
In this election contest, the Supreme Court entered judgment in favor of Defendants ordering that the name of David Y. Ige be placed on the ballot as the Democratic Party candidate for the Office of Governor for the 2018 general election. Plaintiff, one of six Democratic Party candidates for the Office of Governor in the August 11, 2018 primary election, filed an election objection challenging the primary election and alleging, among other things, that Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa’s candidacy for the Office of Governor violated the “resign to run” provision in Haw. Const. art. II, 7 and that Chief Election Officer Scott Nago was guilty of election fraud. The Supreme Court held (1) inasmuch as Ige received the highest votes, he was a necessary and indispensable party who should have been named as a defendant and served with a copy of the complaint; and (2) the election objection failed to state claims upon which relief can be granted. View "Kim v. State " on Justia Law

by
In this primary election challenge, the Supreme Court ordered that the name of David Y. Ige be placed on the ballot as the Democratic Party candidate for the Office of Governor for the 2018 general election, holding that the election objection filed by Plaintiff Richard Kim failed to state claims upon which relief can be granted. Kim, one of six Democratic Party candidates for the Office of Governor in the August 11, 2018 primary election, filed this complaint challenging the August 11, 2018 primary election. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant Ige bribed committed election offenses and asked the Supreme Court to disqualify Ige as the Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate and order a new primary election without Ige’s name on the ballot. The supreme Court held (1) this Court did not have original jurisdiction to prosecute the criminal offenses alleged by Kim; and (2) Kim could prove no set of facts that would entitle him to relief. View "Kim v. Ige " on Justia Law

by
Petitioners filed a petition for a writ of quo warrant challenging Representative Calvin K.Y. Say’s authority to hold office as representative of the Twentieth District of Hawaii. The circuit court granted Say’s motion to dismiss the petition for nonjusticiability. Petitioners appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the law of the case doctrine does not foreclose Say’s arguments; (2) the legitimacy of Say’s qualifications to hold office presents a nonjusticiable political question; (3) the Attorney General was not prohibited from representing the House of Representatives against Petitioners; and (4) the grant of permissive intervention to the House of Representatives was proper. View "Hussey v. Say" on Justia Law

by
The Green Party of Hawaii and seven registered voters who voted in the 2012 General Elections (collectively, Green Party) filed this action seeking a declaratory judgment that certain methodologies and procedures used by the Office of Elections in the 2012 election were invalid under the Hawaii Administrative Procedure Act (HAPA). The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of the Office of Elections, concluding that the challenged procedures were not subject to HAPA rulemaking requirements. The Supreme Court vacated the circuit court’s judgment in part, holding that the procedures used to determine that there will be a sufficient number of ballots ordered for each precinct for a general or primary election and the policy for counting votes cast on ballots for the incorrect precinct are rules under HAPA and, therefore, are subject to HAPA’s rulemaking requirements. View "Green Party of Hawaii v. Nago" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff, a Hawaii resident, filed an election contest complaint arguing (1) Presidential candidate Ted Cruz was not qualified to run for President of the United States and, therefore, the Republican Part was guilty of election fraud; (2) the Office of Elections sponsors racism by serving “whites only”; and (3) Governor David Ige is responsible for rampant bigotry and discrimination within the State. The State moved to dismiss the complaint. The Supreme Court entered judgment dismissing the complaint, holding that Plaintiff failed to demonstrate that the Supreme Court had jurisdiction over his complaint or the relief he sought. View "Smallwood v. State " on Justia Law