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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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  so, what does that mean? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peacestpete, Metric Only, 3rock, Chi

    the results are not certified then and we have to wait? ?

    Why is everything so complicated in the US?

    We know a hell of a lot, but we understand very little. Manfred Max-Neef

    by mimi on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 03:49:52 PM PDT

  •  So you like the result. Fine. Nonetheless, (0+ / 0-)

    they really should extend election hours for those affected by natural disasters, and, at a minimum, be consistent and not play favorites.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 04:39:54 PM PDT

  •  seems weird (0+ / 0-)

    that anyone other than the candidate in question would have standing to file this sort of lawsuit.  After all, don't you generally need a potential remedy when filing a lawsuit?  If one candidate has conceded you can't force her to run, so what is the proposed remedy?

  •  I have to be truthful, (0+ / 0-)

      beings that I just see things in a common sense way. I was astonished the entire election wasn't postponed a week.
       I read the hrs 11-92.3 law, it would seem to me the ACLU found in the law a way to effect what is something that needs to be changed by the legislature into a simplicity of postponing an election.
       We are in the midst of climate change and hoping for corrective change. The variables and uncertainties may be becoming unknown.
       As the areas effected in this case are a bit to the left as Democrats, the insurance in the future for being able to access and vote on election day isn't a bad idea.
        I thought at the time, wow, Hawai'i isn't the Eastern United States South, though there are some religious nutcases in Hawai'i who would like to take it back to plantation days.
       The fight.

    March AGAINST monsatanOHagentorange 3/25/13 a time warp

    by 3rock on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 04:52:57 PM PDT

  •  Is this a frivolous lawsuit? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ypochris

    Section 11-172, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS), provides in pertinent part:

    "With respect to any election, any candidate, or qualified political party directly interested, or any thirty voters of any election district, may file a complaint in the supreme court."  [Emphasis added]

    In their Complaint, the ACLU has six named residents of the Big Island as plaintiffs.

    That's nowhere near the number specified in the HRS and it remains to be seen whether any of them are residents of the Puna district, not just the Big Island.

    Failing that, ACLU ED Perrin's male co-counsel may have stepped on his male parts big-time.  The Complaint should be dismissed with prejudice since the six lack standing.

    Over and above that threshold question, they fail to state a claim on the merits, acting as if the only opportunity to vote was Election Day, which is demonstrably false.

    As I pointed out in your DK diary on Hanabusa conceding, residents of the state of Hawaii knew at least two weeks (7/20 Honolulu Star Advertiser Election Guide) prior to the election that they could vote early, either by absentee ballot or by walk-in -- for Puna residents, that was the nearby Pahoa voting center -- and they had notice on the news and in the Star-Advertiser of the approach of Hurricane Iselle and Hurricane Julio.

    So the Supremes may act like WWII Marines:  "Take your TS card to the chaplain and get it punched," accompanied by the world's smallest violin playing "Hearts and Flowers."

    It may be that by filing a frivolous lawsuit with the Supremes, ACLU may have committed criminal as opposed to civil contempt of court and be assessed court costs, if not attorney's fees for the AG's ofice as well, under Sec. 11-175, HRS.

    (Criminal contempt occurs in the courtroom in front of the judge(s) while civil contempt occurs outside the courtroom or elsewhere).

    •  The lawsuit rests on a different principle (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CoyoteMarti, 3rock, LeftHandedMan, begone

      than that the election outcome might be different.  It specifically says this is NOT what they are suing over.

      They are alleging that the law covering natural disasters should have REQUIRED that the Elections Office afford all voters affected by the hurricane the opportunity to vote at a later time.

      I think as a matter of law, their case is weak.

      But I do think this will have the effect of getting the Legislature to change the law to be more specific.

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