REPORT TITLE: 
Election contests
DESCRIPTION:
Amends section 11-174.5 to provide for timely disposition of
election contests by the Hawaii Supreme Court.

 
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HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                H.B. NO.           
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            
                                                             
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                     A BILL FOR AN ACT

RELATING TO THE EFFICIENT DISPOSITION OF ELECTION CONTESTS.



BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:


 1      SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that although election
 
 2 contests originate in the State Supreme Court, such cases are not
 
 3 necessarily adjudicated in a timely manner.  For a member of the
 
 4 legislature, whose term of office begins the day after a general
 
 5 election, an election contest may not allow the successful
 
 6 candidate to be sworn in until the election contest is resolved
 
 7 by the court.  Under current law, there are no specified time
 
 8 requirements for the service of election contest complaints or
 
 9 the hearing of such matters.  Thus, the mere filing of such
 
10 contests can leave the affected district without representation
 
11 in government.
 
12      Since the current legal process does not guarantee the
 
13 speedy disposition of such contests, the voters of the affected
 
14 district become disenfranchised, without representation in the
 
15 legislature.  Until the contest is resolved, who represents the
 
16 interests of the district in question?  
 
17      The purpose of this Act is to provide for the expeditious
 
18 and timely disposition of election contests.
 
19      SECTION 2.  Section 11-174.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
 

 
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 1 amended to read as follows:
 
 2      "11-174.5  Contests for cause in general, special general,
 
 3 special, and runoff elections.(a)  Notwithstanding any other
 
 4 rule or law to the contrary,[I]in general, special general,
 
 5 special, or runoff elections, the complaint shall be filed in the
 
 6 office of the clerk of the supreme court not later than 4:30 p.m.
 
 7 on the twentieth day following the general, special general, 
 
 8 special, or runoff election and shall be accompanied by a deposit
 
 9 for costs of court as established by rules of the supreme court.
 
10 The clerk shall issue to the defendants named in the complaint a
 
11 summons to appear before the supreme court not later than 4:30
 
12 p.m. on the tenth day after service thereof.  The complaint shall
 
13 be served on the chief elections officer not later than five
 
14 business days after the filing thereof.  Real parties in
 
15 interest, including any candidates, and political parties, shall
 
16 be notified by the chief elections officer of any action brought
 
17 under this section within five business days after service
 
18 thereof.
 
19      (b)  In cases involving general, special general, special,
 
20 or runoff elections the complaint shall be heard by the supreme
 
21 court in which the complaint was filed [as soon as it reasonably
 
22 may be heard] not later than the fifteenth business day after the
 
23 initial appearance by the defendants named in the complaint. On
 

 
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 1 the return day, the court, upon its motion or otherwise, may
 
 2 direct summons to be issued to any person who may be interested
 
 3 in the result of the proceedings.
 
 4      At the hearing, the court shall cause the evidence to be
 
 5 reduced to writing and shall give judgment, stating all findings
 
 6 of fact and of law.  The judgment may invalidate the general,
 
 7 special general, special, or runoff election on the grounds that
 
 8 a correct result cannot be ascertained because of a mistake or
 
 9 fraud on the part of the precinct officials; or decide that a
 
10 certain candidate, or certain candidates, received a majority or
 
11 plurality of votes cast and were elected.  If the judgment should
 
12 be that the general, special general, special, or runoff election
 
13 was invalid, a certified copy thereof shall be filed with the
 
14 governor, and the governor shall duly call a new election to be
 
15 held not later than one hundred twenty days after the judgment is
 
16 filed.  If the court shall decide which candidate or candidates
 
17 have been elected, a copy of that judgment shall be served on the
 
18 chief election officer or county clerk, who shall sign and
 
19 deliver to the candidate or candidates certificates of election,
 
20 and the same shall be conclusive of the right of the candidate or
 
21 candidates to the offices."
 
22      SECTION 3.  Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed.
 
23 New statutory material is underscored.
 

 
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 1      SECTION 4.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
 
 2 
 
 3                         INTRODUCED BY:___________________________
 

 
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