Justia Election Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Hawaii
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The Supreme Court dismissed this election complaint challenging the result of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OAH) at-large trustee election in the November 3, 2020 general election, holding that Plaintiff Keoni Souza did not provide specific facts or actual information of mistakes, errors, or irregularities sufficient to change the result of the election.Souza was a candidate in the OHA at-large trustee election. Keli'i Akina received the highest number of votes, and Souza received 1,623 fewer votes than Akina. In this complaint, Souza asserted five claims for relief, alleging, among other things, that Act 135, as codified at Haw. Rev. Stat. 11-158, is arbitrary and that a recount was warranted. The Supreme Court granted Defendants' motion to dismiss, holding (1) Souza failed to demonstrate that Act 135 is arbitrary or flawed such that the results of the OHA at-large trustee election would be different; and (2) Souza was not entitled to relief on any remaining allegations of error. View "Souza v. Ige " on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted the Chief Election Officer's motion to dismiss Plaintiff's election complaint, holding that the Court could not grant the relief requested.Plaintiff Ashley Famera-Rosenzweig was one of four candidates in the democratic primary election for the office of U.S. Representative, District II in the August 8, 2020 primary election. Kahele received the highest number of votes in the election, and Plaintiff received the least. In her complaint, Plaintiff asked the Supreme Court to strike Kahele's name from the ballot, alleging that Kahele's voluntary assignment with the National Guard prior to the election was a tactical move to prevent all candidates from participating in appearances and debates with media networks. The Supreme Court dismissed the action, holding that Plaintiff presented no set of facts that would entitle her to the requested relief. View "Famera-Rosenzweig v. Kahele " on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed Plaintiff's complaint contending that the Supreme Court should strike Kaiali'i Kahele as a democratic candidate for the office of U.S. Representative, District II, holding that Plaintiff presented no set of facts that would entitle him to the requested relief.Plaintiff Brian Evens was one of four candidates in the democratic primary election of the the office of U.S. Representative, District II in the August 8, 2020 primary election. The election results had Kahele receiving the most votes. In his complaint, Evans argued that Kahele conspired to deprive the other candidates of their right to a fair race and the public's knowledge of the candidates. The Supreme Court granted the Chief Election Officer's motion to dismiss, holding that Plaintiff failed to establish that he was entitled to relief and that Kahele's name shall be placed on the ballot as the democratic candidate in the November 2020 general election. View "Evans v. Kahele " on Justia Law

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In this original proceeding, the Supreme Court entered judgment dismissing this complaint asking the Court to nullify the results of the August 8, 2020 primary election for the City and County of Honolulu mayoral seat and allow all candidates who choose to continue to the November general election to have their names appear on the ballot, holding that the complaint failed to state claims upon which relief can be granted.Plaintiff was one of fifteen candidates for the City and County of Honolulu mayoral seat in the primary election. Rick Blangiardi and Keith Amemiya received the highest number of votes. Plaintiff brought this action alleging that their were multiple irregularities with the primary election. The Supreme Court dismissed the complaint, holding (1) the city clerk for the City and County of Honolulu was a necessary and indispensable party who should have been named as a defendant; and (2) in any case, the complaint failed to state claims upon which relief can be granted. View "Dicks v. State of Hawai'i Office of Elections" on Justia Law

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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