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Complaints delay Hawaii’s vote certification

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The certification of Hawaii’s election results is being delayed by three complaints: one from a woman who said she was running for president of the United States, another from a candidate for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and from a slate of candidates under the banner Klean House Hawaii that included a long-shot candidate for Honolulu mayor.

Two of the complaints were filed just before Monday’s deadline to challenge the election results, and now all three cases are before the Hawaii Supreme Court.

What happens next in Hawaii remains uncertain — even as states on the main­land are finally certifying their own election results following dozens of complaints from lawyers representing President Donald Trump.

Krishna F. Jayaram, spokesman for the state Attorney General’s Office, said in an email, “Elections are central to our democracy and our department will be responding on behalf of the Office of Elections with all due speed.”

Justin P. Keoni Souza requested a hand count of the general election results after losing an Office of Hawaiian Affairs at-large seat to Keli‘i Akina in the Nov. 3 general election.

Akina received 197,829 votes, or 34.1%. Souza received 196,206 votes, or 33.8%. Some 32% of the ballots cast were blank for the at-large trustee seat.

In his complaint, Souza raised several issues that included his argument that a hand recount should occur because the vote difference represented 0.27% of total votes cast.

The state Attorney General’s Office on Nov. 18 filed a motion to dismiss the complaint filed by Khistina Caldwell DeJean of Kailua, who said she was an independent candidate for president. DeJean’s name did not appear on the general election ballot.

In hand-written comments in her complaint, DeJean requested a recall election.

Office of Elections spokeswoman Nedielyn Bueno said in an email that the Attorney General’s Office filed its motion to dismiss the complaint “as there is no provision in law for a recall election and Ms. DeJean was not a candidate for president. The AG’s office is still waiting for a decision from the Hawaii State Supreme Court.”

The complaint from Klean House Hawaii was filed on behalf of several people including Karl Dicks, who finished 14th out of 15 mayoral candidates in the August primary election. Dicks received 361 votes, representing 0.1% of all mayoral votes cast.

“Klean House Hawai‘i began as a Facebook group out of necessity due to the mainstream media blackout of Honolulu mayor candidate Karl Dicks,” according to the group’s complaint. “The Facebook group has 227 members. We are an active group outside of Facebook involved in researching laws, gathering evidence, and exposing corruption at all levels.”

In its complaint, the group accuses county and state officials involved in this year’s elections of having “KNOWINGLY VIOLATED” multiple state laws, “Federal guidelines, procedures, and ethical stands, including sending “Extra ballots … to dead or moved voters”; “Excess ballots sent to dead or moved voters”; and issuing “Fake/non-working barcodes with no linkage to actual ballots.”

Correction: Justin P. Keoni Souza raised several issues in his elections complaint to the Supreme Court. An earlier version of this story used the name of Souza’s Office of Hawaiian Affairs opponent in a subsequent reference about Souza’s complaint.
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