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Doe v. Cachola

Supreme Court of Hawaii

August 31, 2018

JANE AND JOHN DOE VOTERS 1-47, Plaintiffs,
v.
ROMY CACHOLA, as an individual; SCOTT T. NAGO, CHIEF ELECTION OFFICER FOR THE STATE OF HAWAI'I, in his official capacity, Defendants.

          ORIGINAL PROCEEDING

          Recktenwald, C.J., Nakayama, McKenna, Pollack, and Wilson, JJ.

          FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND JUDGMENT

         We have considered the August 21, 2018 amended complaint filed by plaintiffs Jane and John Doe Voters 1-47 ("Plaintiffs"), the August 27, 2018 motion to dismiss, filed by defendant Chief Election Officer Scott T. Nago ("Nago"), the August 28, 2018 motion in opposition to the motion to dismiss filed by Plaintiffs, the August 28, 2018 motion for discovery filed by Plaintiffs, and the August 29, 2018 motion to dismiss filed by defendant Romy Cachola ("Cachola"). Having heard this matter without oral argument and in accordance with HRS § 11-173.5(b) (2009) (requiring the supreme court to "give judgment fully stating all findings of fact and of law"), we set forth the following findings of fact and conclusions of law and enter the following judgment.

         FINDINGS OF FACT

         1. Cachola was one of two Democratic Party candidates for the Office of State Representative, District 30 in the August 11, 2018 primary election.

         2. The election result for the Democratic Party race for the Office of State Representative, District 30 was as follows:

Romy M. Cachola 920 (48.2%)
Ernesto M. (Sonny) Ganaden 869 (45.5%)
Blank Votes 120 (6.3%)
Over Votes 0 (0.0%)

         3. Cachola is the Democratic Party candidate who received the highest number of votes.

         4. On August 20, 2018, Plaintiffs filed an election complaint against Cachola and Nago. Plaintiffs contend that they are "registered voters in Hawaii House of Representative District 30." Plaintiffs filed a list of their names in-camera without seeking permission or leave of this court to file their names in-camera .

         5. On August 21, 2018, Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint to include counsel's electronic signature, which was missing from the original complaint. The amended complaint alleges seven counts for relief:

• Count I Cachola's violations of HRS § 19-3(4) regarding election fraud by campaigning in a medical facility in which he exercises influence over voters' receipt of healthcare

• Count II Cachola's violations of HRS § 84-12 regarding confidential information
• Count III Cachola's violations of HRS § 11-137 regarding election fraud
• Count IV Cachola's violations of HRS § 19-6(8), a misdemeanor election offense
• Count V Nago failed to preclude tampering in an election pursuant to HRS § 11-4
• Count VI Nago failed to comply with the Help America Vote Act of 2 0 02 (HAVA)
• Count VII Cachola's violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)

         6. As against Cachola, Plaintiffs allege that during the course of the 2018 primary campaign, Cachola violated several provisions of federal and state law -- voter fraud (HRS § 19-3), illegal handling of absentee ballots (HRS § 19-6), asking to see a ballot (HRS § 11-137), violations of HIPAA, and improper use of confidential information by a legislator (HRS § 84-12) . They contend that Cachola "coerces and intimidates votes from a vulnerable population" and "mingles his residence and campaign ''headquarters' with a medical clinic operated by his wife [ . ]" They maintain that "[v]oter fraud is Cachola's primary form of political campaigning" -- he intimidates patients of his wife's medical clinic to vote for him in consideration of the condition and continuing deliverance of medical care provided by his wife's medical practice, and goes house to house through the district seeking absentee ballots in the final weeks of the campaign ...


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