A challenge by defeated state Senate candidate Matt LoPresti was rejected by the Hawaii Supreme Court this afternoon.
All five justices signed off on the 23-page judgment that says “there is no genuine issue of material fact” presented by LoPresti to change the results of the general election’s final results showing him losing to Kurt Fevella by 116 votes. The judgment says LoPresti failed to show sufficiently that there were errors, mistakes or irregularities that could have changed the outcome of the election.
The two men went head-to-head in the November general election for the Senate District 19 (Ewa Beach, Iroquois Point) seat after incumbent Sen. Will Espero resigned in the summer in an unsuccessful bid for lieutenant governor.
LoPresti, a Democrat, stepped away from a reelection bid in the state House to run for the Senate seat. Fevella, a Republican and longtime Ewa Beach community advocate, had run for political office several times in the past.
Opening day of the Legislature is Jan. 16 but Fevella, the only Republican in the 25-member Senate, has already been immersed in a series of pre-session community briefings.
In his challenge, LoPresti argued that irregularities in voting or counting of the votes could have had a bearing in the election outcome. He also alleged that the 116-vote difference equalled 0.9 percent of the total votes cast, therefore calling into doubt the results.
He also contended that there were irregularities at one of the Ewa precincts including potential tampering, and that electronic tabulation machines were not working at that precinct and possibly others.
However, the court concluded, “It is not sufficient that a plaintiff point to ‘a poorly run and inadequately supervised election process,’ that evinces ‘room for abuse’ or ‘possibilities of fraud.’”
The Supreme Court has yet to file a decision on a separate case brought by Tommy Waters, who lost the Honolulu City Council’s District 4 seat to incumbent Trevor Ozawa by 22 votes. The court has asked state and county elections officers to answer additional questions in that case and to respond to them today.
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