Wednesday, April 27, 2016

 

Support Democracy in Hawaii—contribute to the fight for good government


by Larry Geller

Your help is needed to support a grassroots effort to solve several abuses that diminish democracy in Hawaii.

Stories break into the news and then mysteriously disappear—for example, does former House Speaker Calvin Say live in the district he represents in the House? The question isn’t settled yet even if there are no reporters covering the ongoing struggle.

Another news story that “disappeared:” Hawaii’s Office of Elections' mishandled the 2012 election (see below). Now we find outselves in another election year.

Should we just brace for more missteps, or how about fighting for improvement?

Several legal actions are gathered together in a crowdfunding page for the Hui for Good Government Hawaii. While legal action is typically costly and out of reach of good government advocacy groups, attorney Lance Collins has agreed to argue several cases pro bono (without charge) for these groups. He has argued and won good government cases including cases that have gone to the Hawaii Supreme Court—for example, he won Kanaehele v. Maui County, a Sunshine Law case, in 2013.

But there are court costs that must be paid, and other expenses related to these suits.


Citizen funding can make a difference

Fixing the 2012 election problems comes down to correcting lax rules governing election procedures. Since the Office of Elections hasn’t done this even as we now approach a new election season, it falls to concerned citizens and the court to make ‘em get their act together.

From the crowdfunding page, here is the brief description of the case filed against the Chief Elections Officer:

The Office of Elections' mishandled the 2012 election. They ran out of ballots, delivered ballots to the wrong place, and had people voting on the wrong ballots. Why? We argue they needed more and better rules to protect our right to vote. The case is before the Supreme Court and oral arguments are set for May 18 at 8:45 am.

Supreme CourtYou can attend the hearing—it’s a historic courtroom and attorney Collins argues eloquently.

Wouldn’t it feel even better if you have chipped in to correct the election errors? Sitting proudly in the front row, you’ll know that you are part of the solution that hopefully will come out of this citizen effort.

This isn’t the first time Collins has tangled with the Office of Elections:

Judge Joseph E. Cardoza granted an injunction today against Hawaii’s illegal use of electronic voting machines and the illegal transmission of vote results over the Internet. A written decision will be issued in the coming weeks, he said.

The suit (Babson v. Cronin, Civ No. 2cc08-1-000378 ) was brought by attorney Lance Collins on behalf of five citizens of Maui against Hawaii’s Chief Elections Officer (see background on Disappeared News in these articles).

[Hawaii’s 2010 elections enjoined by Maui judge, 5/20/2009]

Check out the crowdfunding page, and chip in if you can—small donations can pay the costs of keeping these actions alive.

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