City Council meeting in recess, Supreme Court issues another order

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District 4, from Hawaii Kai to Ala Moana Beach Park, will have to wait longer for a City Council representative. The Supreme Court issued another order Wednesday that gives election challengers more time. This on a day that Trevor Ozawa was supposed to be sworn in with the other three council members. 

Everyone is waiting on the Supreme Court and until then, Wednesday’s City Council agenda was postponed. The order that was issued Wednesday will give District 4 candidate Tommy Waters and State Senate candidate Matt LoPresti a chance to respond. 

Three council members, Brandon Elefante, Heidi Tsuneyoshi, and Carol Fukunaga, received the Oath of Office as Trevor Ozawa sat quietly in his seat. Because his election is not certified pending the Supreme Court’s decision, Ozawa cannot be sworn in. However, he was present with his family at his side. 

“We won the election you know and it’s important for my family, my staff, my team, all my supporters, and most importantly my constituents of my district to be represented in this room,” said Ozawa. 

After the ceremony, it was decided to postpone any action on the agenda. This included selecting a council chair, which was likely to be Ozawa. 

“So instead of rushing and moving ahead with a different kind of resolution, I think the prudent and reasonable course to take is to wait a few days,” said Councilman Ron Menor. 

“Going into the New Year like this is kind of problematic for the Council for many reasons. Normally the chair sets the calendar for the year of all the meetings. It’s up in the air,” said Councilman Joey Manahan. 

Now there may be more of a wait. Wednesday afternoon, the Supreme Court gave the plaintiffs, which in this case is Waters, more time to respond. When the Court asked for more information from the state on the “margin of error” for the electronic vote counting machines, Chief Election Officer Scott Nago responded saying he has no reason to believe there is a “margin of error.” In the meantime, Ozawa says he and his staff will be volunteering their work. 

“As far as helping our constituents on day-to-day issues, we are going try to do what we can to make sure that happens,” said Ozawa. 

The Court is giving Waters and other election challengers until Friday Afternoon, no later than 4:30, to file a response. 

Waters sent us a response and.a spokeswoman tells us:

“We were pleased with the Supreme Court’s Order on Friday, and we appreciate their granting our motion to have until Friday to respond to the State’s response. We believe the Hawaii Supreme Court is taking very seriously some of the real questions in the Elections process raised not only by Tommy but also by a group of Council District IV voters. Our main goal has always been to ensure the integrity of the election, and to that end, continue to encourage the Elections Officer to conduct a hand recount as is his authority under the law.”

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