Hawaii high court rejects 2 primary election challenges

Aug. 31—The Hawaii Supreme Court has dismissed two initial legal challenges disputing the results of the state's Aug. 13 primary election.

The Hawaii Supreme Court has dismissed two initial legal challenges disputing the results of the state's Aug. 13 primary election.

All five justices on the state's highest court on Monday dispensed with the complaints filed by one Republican and one Democratic candidate for governor last week.

Gary Cordery, who finished third among 10 Republicans seeking to be governor, filed his complaint Aug. 22. A day later, Richard Kim filed his complaint after finishing a distant fifth among seven Democratic gubernatorial contenders.

The court ruled that neither complaint offered evidence that would alter election outcomes.

"A plaintiff challenging a primary election must show that he or she has actual information of mistakes or errors sufficient to change the election result, " the justices wrote in their opinion in both cases, citing prior case law.

Cordery, who was joined in his complaint by 34 voters, alleged in part that voters may have been confused by instructions and that the arrangement of political parties and a nonpartisan category of candidates on ballots didn't comply with Hawaii's Constitution or state law. He had asked that all election results be nullified and that every candidate be advanced to the Nov. 8 general election.

The court didn't even get into whether the allegations had merit, and ruled that the plaintiffs failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.

"Taking Plaintiffs' allegations as true and viewing them in the light most favorable to them, nullification of the 2022 Primary Election results and requiring all qualified candidates to advance to the 2022 General Election are not remedies authorized by (state law ), " said the court order signed by Justices Mark Recktenwald, Paula Nakayama, Sabrina McKenna, Michael Wilson and Todd Eddins.

Kim, in part, alleged that manipulated computer programming transferred about 98, 500 votes for him to Lt. Gov. Josh Green that resulted in Green's win.

As evidence supporting this claim, Kim cited factors that included his sign-waving efforts, his Facebook followers and the number of visits to his campaign website.

Kim received 991 votes compared with 158, 161 for Green.

"Based on this court's review of the evidence submitted in support of his complaint, there is no evidence or reasonable inference drawn from the evidence submitted that there was computer programming manipulation on his name on the democratic ballots such that he received only 1 % of the actual votes he should have had, " the court's ruling in Kim's case said. "This claim thus amounts to speculation and does not support his assertion that he should be declared the winner."

Two other candidates filed election challenges by an Aug. 26 deadline that are still pending before the court. They are BJ Penn, who finished second to former Lt. Gov. James "Duke " Aiona in the Republican race for governor, and Cherie Oquendo, who was five votes behind winner Tiana Wilbur in the Republican primary for state House District 45, covering Waianae and Makaha.

There also is a pending challenge filed by 70 voters on Kauai.