Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Hawaii’s Open Primary Law

The case began with:

DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF HAWAII, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. SCOTT T. NAGO, in his official capacity as Chief Election Officer of the State of Hawaii, Defendant-Appellee, No. 13-17545 D.C. No. 1:13-cv-00301-JMS-KSC.

The panel affirmed the district court’s summary judgment in favor of Scott Nago, in his official capacity as Chief Election Officer of the State of Hawaii, in an action brought by the Democratic Party of Hawaii challenging Hawaii’s open primary system on the grounds that allowing registered voters to participate in any party’s primary without formally joining or declaring support for that party, severely burdens the Democratic Party’s First Amendment associational rights. The panel first noted that the extent to which Hawaii’s open primary system burdens the Democratic Party’s associational rights is a factual question on which the Party bore the burden of proof. The panel held that the Party had not developed any evidence to meet this burden. The Party provided no evidence showing a clear and present danger that adherents of opposing parties determine the Democratic Party’s nominees. Nor had the Party shown that Hawaii’s open primary system causes Democratic candidates to moderate their policy stances. The panel concluded that absent evidence that Hawaii’s system affects the Party’s ability to select its nominees, the Party’s facial challenge failed.

The Supreme Court decided: The Petition for a Writ of Certiorari is Denied, without Noted Dissent.

The Supreme Court also decided to not hear the Legal challenge to Montana's Open Primary systems.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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