Kauai County fights challenge to election
Two losing mayoral candidates have no proper legal standing, county attorneys say
LIHUE » The Kauai County Attorney's Office asked the state Supreme Court to throw out challenges to the mayoral election that incumbent Bryan Baptiste won outright by one vote.
In court documents filed in response to elections challenges by two former mayoral candidates, Deputy County Attorneys Christiane Nakea-Tresler and Rosa Flores said the primary election was fair and accurate, and represented the will of voters.
Mayoral candidates John Hoff and Janee Marie Taylor challenged the election of Baptiste to a second term last week in the Supreme Court, giving a variety of reasons for an audit and an investigation into the results.
They both claimed that there could have been problems with the voter machines, some voters were confused by the ballots and that 794 ballots were counted after all the precincts had been reported.
Hoff requested an audit of the results, since one or two votes could have kept Baptiste from winning outright and forced a general-election runoff. He also alleged that politics played a role.
The county denied any irregularities in the vote and cited an affidavit by County Clerk Peter Nakamura.
Nakamura said both types of voter machines were tested prior to the election, and the public was invited to watch. He said four Democrats were part of the observation team on primary day. Baptiste is a Republican.
The county attorneys acknowledged that vote totals changed after the second printout showed all election precincts reporting. Some 300 votes were tabulated on the third printout from a voting machine at a polling place which had not been included in the earlier total. The remaining 494 votes came from absentee mail ballots not tabulated in the first count.
Nakamura, in his affidavit, also said no irregularities were reported by precinct officials anywhere on Kauai.
The county also argued that the two challengers were not "directly interested" and do not have standing to challenge the election anyway.
Hoff, who finished third, and Taylor, who finished filth, would not be involved in the runoff if the Supreme Court decided to rule against the county. They are, in effect, simple voters, and by law, need 30 people to support the challenge.
The top two finishers, Baptiste and Jesse Fukushima, who decided not to challenge the election, would have faced off in November.
Also, the deputies wrote, the challengers failed to show that any fraud or mistakes occurred.