Chair Keith-Agaran, Vice Chair Rhoads, members of Committee on Judiciary,
The League of Women Voters supports HB 1368 which makes an amendment to Section 11 – 117, HRS which closes a loophole used last election to deliberately give the party more time to look for a candidate to fill an empty slot. The line, “Any person who withdraws their nomination papers prior to the close of filing shall not be considered to have caused a vacancy that may be filled by a party under section 11-118”, makes it crystal clear that that person has not been nominated for that seat.
The same rules should be followed by everyone who withdraws from an election or who files for nomination, without exception, and we hope that all incumbents planning not to run for office in the next election will declare that intent early enough to give all interested citizens a fair opportunity to assess his/her chances of being able to mount a competitive campaign. When a vacancy appears, people need time to assess their personal situations, their willingness to withstand the demands and rigors of campaigning, their capability of getting a crew and volunteers to help in the campaign and the chances of getting enough donations or public funding to run competitive races.
Giving the State Supreme Court original jurisdiction over challenges to candidacies helps expedite the resolutions of these cases when speed is of the essence since elections will not wait.
Thank you for this opportuntiy to support HB 1368.