ACLU loses bid to prevent
vote count on amendment

The high court ruling allows
the group to contest the outcome

Voters will have final say
Gabbard campaign brochure draws protests

By Debra Barayuga

The Hawaii Supreme Court has denied the American Civil Liberties Union's request for an emergency order that would have prevented the tabulation and certification of votes on proposed constitutional amendment No. 3.

Election 2002

But the high court's action means the ACLU can contest the election or continue its lawsuit in Circuit Court.

The ACLU had filed suit on behalf of two voters who contend the failure to publish the text of Amendment No. 3 denied them an opportunity to make an informed decision and violated their fundamental right to vote.

The ACLU filed an emergency order after Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario denied its request Thursday for a temporary restraining order.

Voters are being asked to give prosecutors a third alternative to bringing felony charges. The proposal would allow prosecutors to submit documents to file charges.

Deputy Attorney General Charleen Aina, in the state's response, argued that because Del Rosario's denial of the temporary restraining order was not a final judgment, it was not in the high court's jurisdiction.

In a majority opinion, the justices agreed with the state's position.

In a dissenting opinion, however, Justice Simeon Acoba said the plaintiffs have shown they would likely succeed on the merits of their case. He also said the state Office of Elections failed to comply with mandatory constitutional requirements for public notice of the proposed amendment.

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