A judge has ordered Rep. Calvin Say to appear in court and prove that he actually lives in the district he represents.

Say is set to appear in court on the morning of August 8, a day before the primary election. The longtime legislator faces two contenders in the primary race: Republican Julia Allen and Green Party member Keiko Bonk.

Say, the former speaker of the House, represents District 20, which includes Palolo and Kaimuki. But residents say he hasn’t lived in the area for years and that the house he claims he lives in is vacant.

Calvin Say up close microphone

Calvin Say in March 2014

PF Bentley/Civil Beat

They allege that he has long lived in Pacific Heights with his wife and two children, all of whom are apparently registered to vote at the Nuuanu-area address.

A group of six registered voters living in District 20 has attempted repeatedly to challenge Say’s residency, including through a lawsuit in 2012 that Circuit Judge Karen Nakasone later dismissed on the grounds that she didn’t have jurisdiction over the issue.

The state Constitution says that a lawmaker must be qualified to vote in the district that he or she represents, though it doesn’t explicitly address residency. In her dismissal of the 2012 petition, Nakasone reasoned that the onus was on the city clerk, who oversees voter registration, to determine Say’s ability to represent District 20.

The case never went to trial. But the appeals court in April issued an unanimous opinion concluding that the Circuit Court does have the authority to consider challenges to people who hold public office. The appeals court ordered the case back to the Circuit Court.

Click here for the Intermediate Court of Appeals’ April 23 opinion.


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