In a federal lawsuit, the Democratic Party of Hawaii claims the state’s primary election law is unconstitutional. Hawaii’s primary system that allows every registered voter to participate in the party’s nomination process is tantamount to forced political association, in violation of the First Amendment, according to the lawsuit filed Monday. The party prefers a primary that allows distinguishing voters by political orientation. The law prevents the party “from exerting any control over who may participate in the nomination of its candidates,” the lawsuit states, resulting in the “active, earnest and faithful” party members being “substantially outnumbered in their own nomination process, by persons unknown to (the party).”
The lawsuit would help ensure that Democrats are elected at the primary stage by fellow Democrats, said Dante Carpenter, party chairman.
“I do not support the lawsuit,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said in a statement. “The Democratic Party has always been inclusive, drawing strength from bringing together a diversity of people and perspectives.”