Sunday, February 22, 2015
Is “Karl Rhoads” the source of voting record information used by Calvin Say’s attorney that was questionably obtained?
by Larry Geller
Update: The documents for the House Special Committee hearing MC1003 are not on the status page given below. Turns out they are here. How would anyone know? The page does not even have an RSS feed so that changes can be tracked.
The state House investigation of a challenge to former speaker Calvin Say’s right to hold his seat in Hawaii’s House of Representatives has taken a new twist. Petitioners have questioned whether the committee chair is the source of certain voter record information that was used by Say’s attorney, and whether that information was used legally.
The status page for MC1003, regarding the petition filed by voters in Calvin Say’s district has not been updated with the documents submitted by the parties. But attorney Lance Collins has made available his letter addressed to Speaker Joseph Souki and chair of the Special Committee, Karl Rhoads, that was sent to them late Friday, February 20, 2015. The letter questions whether Rhoads was the source of voting record information provided to Say’s attorneys that was allegedly not legally distributable.
The information in question was included in Exhibits 1 and 2 to Mr. Say's February 11, 2015 submission to the Special Committee. According to Collins, the records
appear to have been obtained from the account of a “Karl Rhoads” on hivoter.com on February 5, 2015.
The letter to Souki and Rhoads asks if that “Karl Rhoads” is the same as Karl Rhoads who was appointed by Souki to head the special committee.
The appointment was announced only one day earlier, on February 4, 2015.
Collins indicates that the information disclosed goes beyond “full name, district/precinct designation, and voter status” which is allowed for “election purposes.”
HRS 11-14 and 11-97 limit the use of voter registration information to “election purposes” and limit what information is publicly available and what information is confidential. As stated in HRS 11-14(d), “Unless authorized under section 11-97, it shall be unlawful for any person to use,print, publish, or distribute any voter registration information acquired directly or indirectly from the voter registration affidavits or any list prepared therefrom... Any person who violates this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”
Collins attached to his letter two examples of information obtained over the name “Karl Rhoads.” He also asked that the committee redact confidential information from documents open to public view.
This is nonsense. The phrase "for election purposes" does not restrict it to use by election officials. The information is also legally used by political parties and candidates. In this case, if the data was accessed to determine if Calvin Say was qualified to vote in HD20, that is certainly an "election purpose."
There is a desperation and an animus driving not only the pursuit of Say, but also some reporting on the case, such as this commentary, whereby commonsense is being suspended.
It is awfully reckless to accuse Rhoads of violating the law like this, both for Lance Collins and for you, Larry, to repeat this nonsense without first considering how careless an accusation you are broadcasting. Unless your point is to show how reckless Lance can be. In which case, well done!
Did Dame read the same blog that I did? Did he look at the House's website? Is Collins questioning Rhoads about disclosing Say's private voter information or is the questioning about the private voter information of two single women? Maybe Dame can explain to all of us what "election purpose" Rhoads was pursuing when he handed that information over to Say's attorneys? I think highly of Rhoads and would like a frank explanation. What is not helpful is Dame's uninformed, emotionally loaded language dismissing anything he has determined he doesn't agree with as being somehow out of bounds. And I'm grateful to Larry Geller for keeping track of this issue with so many things happening right now down at the capitol and the media not covering as much as we'd like.
It is normal for a Judge to quietly help the attorneys on one side in a case before him by slipping them information. Usually they demand a percentage, so it is suspicious that Rhoads is doing this gratis. Maybe Say has something on him.
Perhaps Rhoads will explain. I don't think there is anything nefarious going on.
As to Rhoads as judge, I found it a little curious that the committee did not demand testimony under oath, as some other committees have done. So I'm quite a bit puzzled as to what the effective rules are.
A judge would produce a reasoned argument. If this committee does anything less, it will only prolong the ultimate resolution of the issue of Say's qualification to hold his office.