Candidate wins residency dispute
Democratic Speaker of the House Calvin Say is a resident of Palolo and is qualified to run for re-election in his Palolo-St. Louis district, the Oahu Board of Registration ruled yesterday.
The board is charged with ruling on disputes over a voter's qualifications and residency. Under state law a state legislator must be a registered voter in the district that he or she represents.
A former Republican opponent of Say, Mike Palcic, charged that Say actually lived in his in-laws' house in Pauoa.
In a 20-page ruling yesterday, the board said that while state law on voting residency is not clear, an administrative rule says that "when a person has more than one residence, if a person maintains a homeowner's property tax exemption on the dwelling of one of the residences, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the residence subject to the homeowner's property tax exemption is that person's residence."
Because Say claims property tax exemption on his Palolo Valley home, it is his residence, the board ruled.
"I agree with the board that there is plenty of wiggle room in Hawaii's residency law," said Palcic.
Say said that he has represented the Palolo area for 30 years, and "I have always lived in my district.
"This challenge by my opponent was motivated by politics," he added. Palcic's wife, Julia Allen, is Say's Republican opponent for the House seat.
Palcic said he was not sure if he would appeal the decision.