The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday blocked votes from being counted in a unique election that’s considered a major step toward self-governance for Native Hawaiians. The high court granted an injunction requested by a group of Native Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians challenging the election. They argue Hawaii residents who don’t have Native Hawaiian ancestry are being excluded from the vote, in violation of their constitutional rights. The order blocks the counting of votes until at least the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issues its ruling. The group suing to stop the election appealed a district court’s ruling allowing voting to proceed. University of California Irvine election law expert Rick Hasen said it’s “very unusual” for the high court to enjoin the counting of votes during an ongoing election. “I can’t think of another instance where the Supreme Court has done that,” Hasen said. “The court has stopped … the recounting of votes, for example most famously in Bush vs. Gore” in the 2000 presidential election.
There have been cases where the court has stopped elections from going forward, Hasen said, “but it’s hard to think of a situation where the court says ‘keep the voting going, but don’t count the votes or announce the results.'”
The court’s four liberal justices said they would have allowed votes to be counted while the appeal plays out.
Justice Anthony Kennedy on Friday issued a temporary stay blocking the vote count and stopping certification of any winners pending further direction from him or the entire court.
Full Article: News from The Associated Press.