Sen, Daniel Inouye’s only Democratic challenger has released a video that urges Republican and Independent voters to choose the Democratic Party Ballot in the upcoming primary election.
U.S. Senate candidate Andy Woerner said, “The majority of Hawaii’s elections are decided in the primary election by voters who choose the Democratic Party Ballot. Failing to choose the Democratic ballot prevents you from participating in what has become the effective general election for the state.”
He also points to the fact that since 2004, only three Republican candidates elected to office faced challengers in their primary elections, and each of those three candidates won their primary contests with landslide margins of 30 percent to 90 percent.
Woerner quotes Justice Kennedy of the United States Supreme Court, who once wrote that Hawaii’s election laws “exact severe penalties for one who does anything but vote the (Democratic) party ballot”.
Woerner appears to argue from a different perspective in recent constitutional complaints to the Hawaii Supreme Court, the Governor, and the State Legislature.
In them, he notes Hawaii’s election laws encourage private political parties to use the publicly funded elections of the state as their party nomination processes. But under the State’s Constitution, this gives all voters the right to participate in these private nominations, whether the voter is a member of the political party or not.
As an example, nearly 200,000 voters chose the Democratic Party Ballot in 2008, even though there were only about 50,000 members of the Hawaii Democratic Party.
Woerner makes a compelling case that, “The Party lost complete control of their right to choose their own nominee; a right that has clearly been upheld in the federal courts.”
The Democratic Party agrees with this particular position and passed a resolution to that effect at their Convention earlier this year. A similar resolution was also passed in 2006, but was later rescinded after Senator Inouye argued that it would be a “public relations mistake.”
Woerner contends, “Constitutional decisions shouldn’t be based on public relations, and Sen. Inouye’s position is a glaring example of the arrogance and power of Hawaii’s political machine.”
Woerner’s call for all voters to choose the Democratic ballot seems to amplify his Party’s concerns, while drawing attention to their failure to take action on their own resolutions.