Categorized | Elections, News

Inouye challenger files petition to protect voting rights


Andy Woerner, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, submitted an official petition to the Supreme Court of Hawaii, requesting protection of his constitutional rights as a voter in the upcoming primary elections.

Similar petitions were submitted to Gov. Linda Lingle, Attorney General Mark Bennett, state Sens. Colleen Hanabusa, Brian Taniguchi, and Josh Green, and state Reps. Calvin Say, John Riki Karamatsu, and Denny Coffman.

In the petitions, Woerner makes seven state and federal constitutional complaints regarding Hawaii’s primary election statutes. His most extensive argument is centered on “the choice of nonpartisanship” as protected by the Constitution of the State of Hawaii.

Woerner said, “instead of giving voters this important choice, our primary election statutes use questionable wording to give the impression of nonpartisanship, while forcing voters to either affiliate with a single party through an official party ballot, or be relegated to a ballot with only a handful of candidates who have chosen nonpartisanship for themselves”.

As a contrasting example, Woerner points to the statutes regarding the nonpartisan elections of the Board of Education. In those elections every candidate is listed together on the same ballot, and every voter is allowed to vote for any candidate, regardless of their party affiliations.

Another argument presented in the petition is that political parties are private organizations, and as such have no rights under the Hawaii Constitution to use the taxpayer funded elections of the State as nominating processes for their private organizations.

Woerner said, “Although I am strongly committed to the ideals of the Democratic Party, I believe a political party’s ability to influence our elections should end as soon as a voter steps into the ballot box.”

To remedy the alleged violations, Woerner suggests revising Hawaii’s election laws to a system like the one recently adopted by the voters of California. Under their new system, voters will have the right to vote for any candidate on the primary election ballot, and then two most popular candidates will move on to the general election, even if they are from the same political party.

The full petition submitted to the Hawaii Supreme Court can be downloaded at Woerner’s website:…

3 Responses to “Inouye challenger files petition to protect voting rights”

  1. BryantK says:

    If the two most popular candidates move on, then the majority always wins and the minority effectively loses their voice if they are forced to vote in a popularity contest.

  2. Sharon says:

    Is this caption correct? Shouldn’t it read, “Woerner challenger files petition….?”


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