Friday, November 25, 2022
Press release: Maui voters contest Wailuku County Council election at Supreme Court
MAUI VOTERS CONTEST WAILUKU COUNTY COUNCIL ELECTION AT SUPREME COURT
Wailuku, HI - Maui County Council candidate Noelani Ahia and 30 Maui
County voters have filed an election contest with the Hawai'i Supreme
Court seeking to void the results of the Wailuku-Waihe'e-Waikapu County
Council race and to order the holding of a new election.
On election day, the County Clerk deemed the return envelopes of over
800 mailed in ballots "deficient". Voters are given five business days
after the election to cure deficiencies. However, the County Clerk did
not mail out notices to the affected voters until four days after
election day. The present difference between the candidates is presently
In contrast, before election day and before partial results were
available, the County Clerk would notify voters within one or two days
of the deficiency determination. The County Clerk's immediate supervisor
is Council Chair Alice Lee, the other candidate for the office.
The Election Contest has six counts. The County Clerk violated her duty
to reasonably notify voters that she was not counting their ballots. The
County Clerk did not comply with election laws in deeming certain return
envelopes deficient. The County Clerk violated open records laws by
refusing to make public the names of voters whose ballots were being
held. The County Clerk violated the state law by using different
procedures for notifying voters before and after partial election
results were available. The County Clerk violated the constitutional
right of equal protection by arbitrarily treating voters differently
based upon knowledge of the partial election results. The County Clerk
violated due process by failing to reasonably notify voters that their
ballots were being held.
The Supreme Court is not permitted to further extend deadlines to cure
envelopes so it is not possible to know what the true result of the
election is. As a result, the voters are asking the Supreme Court to
invalidate the election results and to order a new election for the
Wailuku-Waihe'e-Waikapu County Council seat.
"We must do everything possible to protect the right to vote and ensure
that every vote is counted. We need to ensure confidence in our election
system especially for all the first time voters," said lead Plaintiff
"As Hawai'i moves from in-person voting to mail-in voting, it is vitally
important that all election officials act with earnest diligence in
ensuring that every lawfully cast ballot is counted,' said the voters'
attorney Lance D. Collins. The voters are also represented by Bianca Isaki.