The ACLU has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Big Island residents Frances and Merrill Lathers, Cassandra Wylie, Brad L. Coffel, Kathleen Walker, and Andrew Leo alleging that the State Office of Elections should have allowed two other precincts (04-03 and 04-04) the opportunity to vote at a later time as they did with precincts 04-01 and 04-02.
The first thing that jumps to mind is that Colleen Hanabusa, having made the political calculation that filing to contest the election results would make her even more unpopular, is using these folks as a front to accomplish the same thing.
This does not appear to be the case.
A check of the campaign contributions does not turn up any of these names in Hanabusa's disclosure. None of my sources can verify plaintiffs' connection to any campaign.
It appears that all this talk ginned up by Hanabusa has resulted in an independent action by the ACLU not related to any campaign.
The filing asserts that HRS §11-92.3 is unconstitutional in that it permits rather than requiring the Office of Elections to make accomodations to voting in the event of a natural disaster.
The suit rests on the premise that electricity was out in 04-03 and 04-03 and thus residents wouldn't have known their precincts and roads were open and that these residents had felled trees which prevented them from leaving their driveways.
Additionally the filing contends that the wording of the announcement rescheduling precincts ("Election officials will also be accepting absentee ballots from voters who were unable to drop off their ballots during the Primary Election on August 9") led plaintiffs to think that voters outside of the rescheduled precincts could also drop off their absentee ballots. (IMO, a pretty weak assertion.)
The suit ends with figures showing that the 04-03 and 04-04 turnout was only about 60% of the 2012 turnout (which was a presidential election year and would normally have a higher turnout.)
However when we examined the 2010 primary, it showed a 13% election day turnout in 04-02 (which is now most of 04-03). 2010 is a more reasonable comparison since it, too, was not a presidential year. This turnout is within a percent of the 2014 04-04 and 04-03 turnout, making the ACLU's assertion that voter turnout was lower than usual factually incorrect.
Plaintiffs are asking that the election not be certified, to be allowed to vote and to have HRS §11-92.3 declared unconstitutional.