High Court Asked to Kill Recall Amendment

By David Waite, Advertiser Capitol Bureau

HONOLULU – A group of Oahu voters wants the state Supreme Court to throw out a City Charter amendment that, in effect, increases the number of signatures required to submit a recall, initiative or Charter amendment petition.

The amendment, Charter Proposal 15, was approved in the Nov. 3 election by 123,535 to 111,950 votes. As stated on the ballot, the proposal asked whether voters wanted to:
Change the number of petition signatures required for recall or initiative from basis of “total votes cast” to “total registered voters?”

“The language as drafted by the Charter Commission on Proposal Number 15 was unclear and misleading and we are asking the Hawaii Supreme court to declare that it was not validly ratified,” said Thomas Grande, attorney for the 35 voters who lodged the complaint with the Supreme Court.

Grande said the Charter Commission should have specified that the effect of the amendment was to increase the number of petition signatures required to submit an initiative petition for ordinances.

“The Charter Commission should have also specified that the amendment applies to the process to amend the Charter by petition,” he said.

Charter Commission Chairman William McCorriston, and City Clerk Raymond Pua, who proposed the Charter amendment in dispute, have steadfastly maintained that there was nothing wrong with the way the question was worded on the ballot.

The voters asking the court to invalidate the adopted amendment have scheduled a press conference for 1:30 p.m. today at City Hall.

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