HONOLULU — The Hawaii Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed an elections complaint challenging the entirety of the Nov. 3 general election in the islands, clearing the way for the results of the state’s presidential vote to be certified.
The state’s highest court, in a unanimous ruling, said the plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge the results of all federal, state and county races. Further, even if the plaintiffs had standing, they failed to prove any facts in support of their claims, the order said.
Hawaii was one of just two states that hadn’t certified the results of the presidential race. West Virginia was the other.
Hawaii’s chief elections officer hasn’t indicated when he would certify the results. President-elect Joe Biden won 63.2% of Hawaii’s vote, compared to President Donald Trump’s 33.9%.
Hawaii has four electors in the electoral college, which is due to meet next Monday.
The complaint was filed by three unsuccessful candidates for office — one Republican and two non-partisans. It sought to invalidate the 2020 primary and general elections and have the state hold new contests.
The plaintiffs alleged the state’s non-partisan Office of Elections violated state law when they implemented the state’s new vote-by-mail system this year. They argued this created opportunities for fraud to be committed. Karl Dicks, a non-partisan candidate who is the lead author of the complaint, said the plaintiffs believed they would find out what kind of fraud was perpetrated once they were allowed to conduct discovery as part of their court case.
Dicks, who received 361 votes to place 14th out of 15 candidates for Honolulu mayor in the primary election, said he was concerned about reports that mail ballots had been sent to people who had died and others who moved away, among other concerns.
The Republican candidate who joined the complaint was Emil Svrcina, who received 24.2% of the vote while losing a state House race to incumbent Democratic Rep. Ryan Yamane in the general election.
Shirlene Ostrov, the chairperson of the Republican Party of Hawaii, said she supports the right of people to challenge election results but didn’t advise the three plaintiffs.
Ostrov said Hawaii’s situation differed from other states where the Trump campaign was challenging mail-in ballots because Hawaii had been preparing to implement all-mail voting since last year after the state’s new law was enacted in June 2019.
“I was also very involved, along with many other Republicans, in the process from the start. And so I can say with certainty that the system was as transparent as possible. We were able to have access to almost every part of the process. And when we didn’t have access, we asked for access and they gave us access,” Ostrov said.
Hawaii’s elections are administered by the Office of Elections, a state agency that reports to the bipartisan Hawaii State Elections Commission. The commission’s members are appointed by leaders of the House and Senate majority and minority parties.