Hawaii election suit hinges on 'severe burden' - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii election suit hinges on 'severe burden'

HONOLULU (AP) - A federal judge says he'll likely rule in favor of a lawsuit challenging Hawaii's open primary election if he finds there's a "severe burden" on the First Amendment right to free association.

Judge J. Michael Seabright said at a hearing Monday that the case could ultimately end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Democratic Party of Hawaii's lawsuit claims the primary system allowing every registered voter to participate in the party's nomination process is tantamount to forced political association and is unconstitutional.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports the party's attorney, Tony Gill, told Seabright the party doesn't want anonymous people deciding its candidates.

State Deputy Attorney General Deirdre Marie-Iha argued that voters who choose to vote in the Democratic primary are committing an act of affiliation with the party.

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