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Hawaii certifies Biden’s win of state’s presidential vote

State Supreme Court dismisses an elections complaint challenging entirety of general election

By AUDREY McAVOY

The Associated Press

HONOLULU — Hawaii on Tuesday certified the results of its presidential vote after the state Supreme Court dismissed an elections complaint challenging the entirety of the Nov. 3 general election in the islands.

President-elect Joe Biden won 63.1 percent of Hawaii’s vote, compared to President Donald Trump’s 34 percent, according to the final summary report from the state Office of Elections. Hawaii has four electors in the Electoral College, which is due to meet Monday.

The pending court case had held up certification of the presidential vote for more than two weeks.

The justices, 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.

The complaint was filed by three unsuccessful candidates for office — one Republican and two nonpartisans. It sought to invalidate the 2020 primary and general elections and have the state hold new contests.

The plaintiffs alleged the state’s nonpartisan 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 nonpartisan 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 percent 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 noted Hawaii had been preparing to implement all-mail voting since last year after the state’s new law was enacted in June 2019, a different scenario from states where the Trump campaign was challenging mail-in ballots.

“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.