At least 13 polling places opened late on Aug. 11. This caused Gov. Neil Abercrombie to extend the voting deadline statewide by 90 minutes.
In her challenge, Akaka said Abercrombie didn’t have the authority to do this. She also said that the ballots in her district were “miscounted … or otherwise mishandled” and that by keeping the polls open late there were “massive voting conduct irregularities[,] which resulted in the wrongful extension of the statutory hours of voting which then caused invalid ballots and votes to be cast and inextricably intermingled with valid ballots and votes cast.”
As a result Akaka believed there should be a new election and a recount. She also wanted her attorneys fees paid.
The Supreme Court, however, didn’t kowtow to Akaka.
First, the court found Akaka didn’t file her challenge on time. She filed it at 4:04 p.m. on Aug. 21. The deadline was 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 20.
Even if Akaka had submitted her paperwork on time, the court said she “failed to present specific acts or actual information of mistakes, error or irregularities sufficient to change the results of the election.”
“A plaintiff challenging a primary election must show that he or she has actual information of mistakes or errors sufficient to change the result … An election contest cannot be based upon mere belief or indefinite information.”
The court also dismissed Akaka’s contention that Abercrombie didn’t have the authority to extend the voting time.
According to the court, Abercrombie’s emergency proclamation to add 90 minutes to the voting day referred to Hawaii Revised Statute 128-10(6), which has more to do with taking control of property during an emergency than it does with elections. Akaka noted this in her challenge.
But the court found the statute the proclamation was supposed to cite was actually HRS 128-9(6), which gives the governor authority to adjust election hours during emergency conditions.
The court called this little more than a “harmless” typo, and dismissed Akaka’s challenge in full. She will not be on the Nov. 6 ballot.