Lawsuits hold up Hawaii election certification

State legislators are taking steps to ensure Hawaii residents won't be blocked from mailing in...
State legislators are taking steps to ensure Hawaii residents won't be blocked from mailing in their ballots
Published: Nov. 27, 2020 at 9:08 AM HST
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HONOLULU (AP) — Certification of Hawaii’s presidential vote was being held up Wednesday by two lawsuits, including one filed by a woman who said she ran for president as an independent but wasn’t on the ballot.

Khistina Caldwell DeJean’s handwritten complaint demands a recall election.

The state responded with a motion to dismiss the case, saying DeJean lacked standing to pursue her complaint because she was not a candidate, a representative of a qualified political party or a member of a group of 30 voters.

The state’s motion added there was no provision for a recall election under Hawaii’s constitution or state law.

Another complaint, filed by Emil Syricina, Karl Dicks, Banner Fanane and a group of voters called Klean House Hawaii, challenged the results of the Nov. 3 general election and the Aug. 8 primary in their entirety. One reason, the lawsuit said, is because the state’s new all-mail election law is invalid.

“Act 136 authorizes voting by mail/mail-in ballots and is incomplete, crossed out and does not comply with the Plain Writing Act of 2010,” the complaint said.

It further alleges unspecified fraud, though there has been no evidence of widespread fraud in the U.S. general election, in Hawaii or in other states.

Dicks received 361 votes to finish 14th out of 15 candidates for Honolulu mayor in the primary election.

Another complaint challenges a single state race.

Keoni Souza, who finished second in the contest for Office of Hawaiian Affairs at-large trustee, said a hand recount should be held for his race because the margin between him and the first-place finisher, Keli’i Akina, was just 0.27% of the votes cast.

The state hasn’t yet filed motions in response to the second and third complaints, which were both filed on Monday, the deadline for challenges to the general election results.

“Elections are central to our democracy and our department will be responding on behalf of the Office of Elections with all due speed,” Krishna Jayaram, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office, said in a statement.

All three lawsuits were filed with the Hawaii Supreme Court, which is where election challenges must be submitted under state law.

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