By CATHY BUSSEWITZ
HONOLULU (AP) - A federal appeals court is upholding an earlier decision to support the way Hawaii holds its primary elections.
The Democratic Party of Hawaii had challenged Hawaii's open primary system where registered voters can choose any party's ballot to cast their votes without formally joining the party. They wanted to limit primary elections to formal party members or people willing to declare their allegiance.
The Democratic Party says the open primary system allows people from opposing parties to influence the Democratic party's candidate selection.
The Ninth Circuit appeals court panel says it was up to the Hawaii Democratic Party to prove that problem exists. But they say the party didn't provide evidence that opponents are determining the Democratic party's election outcomes.
Hawaii is one of 15 states with open primaries.