Governor Simina Swears in for Second Term

Palikir, Pohnpei – FSMIS (Press Release #409-22). Yesterday, Tuesday April 14, the Election Commissioner of Chuuk State gave the Governor-elect, Mr. Wesley W. Simina and Lieutenant Governor-elect, Mr. Johnson S. Elimo, the election result certificate, which certified the results of the April 9th gubernatorial election that re-elected Governor Simina and Lt. Governor Elimo to a second term of office. Both Governor Simina and Lt. Governor Elimo took their oaths at the State Supreme Court in front of a group that contained, among others, Vice President Alik Alik, Chief Justice Andon Amaraich, and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Lorin Robert. Continue reading

Run-off Election News Briefs

April 15, 2009 – Governor Simina and Lt. Gov. Elimo were officially sworn into office at the State Supreme Court among supporters and representatives of the national government including Vice President Alik Alik, Chief Justice Andon Amaraich, and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Lorin Robert. Official inauguration scheduled for next month.

April 14, 2009 – The Chuuk Election Commission Office certified the results of the run-off election declaring Governor Simina and Lt. Governor Elimo as the winners.

April 10, 2009 - The first couple of reports from CRM members indicate a close race between the two teams. It appears that the Doone/Heldart team clearly won the votes of the Chuukese citizens overseas in places like Guam, Hawaii, and Oregon. The incumbents seem to garner most of their votes from people at home.

April 9, 2009 - Reports from around the precints indicate a fairly uneventful run-off election. Unlike the General Election which was marred with fraud and some violence (Hawaii), the rest of precincts have not reported any of the usual antics. Let’s do our best for our beloved Chuuk. Get out there and exercise your right to vote.

For detail unofficial results, visit “Run-Off Election” page

Letter to Governor Simina…

This letter-writing campaign was originally started in December, 2008 in anticipation of the General Election. Today, on the occasion of the re-election of Governor Simina and Lt. Governor Elimo, CRM re-extends an invitation to all members and concerned Chuukese citizens to join our efforts to take action. You’ve heard their campaigns, now it’s our turn to return the favor by voicing our own campaign. These open letters from Chuukese citizens locally and globally will be printed, bound, and presented to the Simina Administration at an opportune time as the voices of Chuukese citizens everywhere. Continue reading

Chuuk Re-Election Scheduled Amidst Lawsuit

April 3, 2009 – The FSM Public Information Office has announced in a press release that Chuuk State run-off election between the incumbents and the Doone/Heldart team is scheduled for April 9, 2009. Leading this process are the very same election commissioners who were at the heart of the problem which prompted a lawsuit by the Killion/Salle camp. Inspite of overwhelming evidence of unlawful practices, these very same appointees of the current administration are allegedly at it again. How can we trust a fair election process if the court case proved their inadequacy to lead. We call upon these election commissioners to do the right thing for the State and resign their posts. Continue reading

Tony Otto Declared Winner In Northwest Region

(Marianas Variety, April 1, 2009) PALIKIR, Pohnpei —Emilio Eperiam, the acting director of the Federated States of Micronesia National Election Office, has announced the results of the recount for two ballot boxes in Election District #5 — the Northwest Islands of Chuuk state. Continue reading

Recommendations from Election Observer

Knudsen as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the 70s

Knudsen as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the 70's

Karen Knudsen, Director of External Affairs at East-West Center, Vice Chairwoman of Hawaii State’s Board of Education, and a member of the team that observed recent elections in the FSM presented her opinions on the challenges facing Micronesia. In her commentary, this former Peace Corps volunteer in Chuuk had some good recommendations for the State of Hawaii and the U.S. on ways to strengthen its services to help Micronesia. She concluded in her commentary, “the U.S. and Hawai’i should work to be supportive partners, including doing our best to welcome Micronesian migrant families into our classrooms and neighborhoods when they choose to make a new life in our communities.” Continue reading

Redley / Salle vs Chuuk State Election Commission

IN THE APPELLATE DIVISION STATE OF CHUUK SUPREME COURT REDLEY KILLION and ) Civil Appeal No. JONATHAN SALLE, ) ) Appellants, ) ) v. ) ) COMPLAINT CHUUK STATE ELECTION COMMISSION; ) MARINO SIVER, Chairman, Chuuk State ) Election Commission; RUFUS PETEWON, ) Commissioner Faichuk Region, Chuuk ) State Election Commission; YASEN Y. ) HERRY, Executive Director, Chuuk State ) Election Commission, ) ) Appellees. ) ) ______________________________ ____________) COMES NOW the Appellants, REDLEY KILLION and JONATHAN SALLE, through its counsel, and hereby files their COMPLAINT against the Appellees, CHUUK STATE ELECTION COMMISSION (hereinafter referred to as the “COMMISSION”); MARINO SIVER, Chairman, Chuuk State Election Commission (hereinafter referred to as “Chairman SIVER”); RUFUS PETEWON, Commissioner Faichuk Region, Chuuk State Election Commission (hereinafter referred to as “Commissioner PETEWON”); YASEN Y. HERRY, Executive Director, Chuuk State Election Commission (hereinafter referred to as “Director HERRY”)(Collectively referred to as “Appellees”), and states the following: I. JURISDICTION 1. This Court has jurisdiction per CSL 3-95-26, § 130, which states, in part, that “A decision of the Chuuk Election Commission may be appealed to the Appellate Division of the Chuuk State Supreme Court. “ See also David v. Uman Election Comm’r, 8 FSM 300d (Chk. S. App. 1998). II. PARTIES 2. Appellants, Mr. Killion and Mr. Salle, are citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia and residents of Chuuk State and are candidates for the Chuuk State Governor and Lt. Governor race, respectively. 3. The COMMISSION is an independent governmental agency or department within the Chuuk State Government located in and operating out of Chuuk State. 4. Chairman SIVER is the current Chairman of the COMMISSION and is an FSM Citizen and resident in Chuuk State. 5. Commissioner PETEWON is one of five current commissioners of the COMMISSION and is an FSM Citizen and resident in Chuuk State. 6. Director HERRY is the current Executive Director of the COMMISSION and is an FSM Citizen and resident in Chuuk State. III. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS 7. On March 2, 2009, in Honolulu, Hawaii (March 3, 2009 in Chuuk), Commissioner PETEWON and COMMISSION employee Evangelina Paul were in charge of Northern Namoneas VAAPP precinct or polling place. The number of registered voters for Northern Namoneas in Honolulu, Hawaii was 1,088. 8. That around 10 a.m., a gentlemen by the name of Open Walter appeared and attempted to vote and was denied by Commissioner PETEWON because he was not on the list of registered voters at that precinct. Mr. Walter became upset and pushed the ballot box to the ground. The ballot box did not break open and no ballots fell out. 9. Shortly thereafter, two Honolulu police officers arrived and left shortly thereafter without any cause or arrest being made. Oter Walter, son of Open Walter, returned and continued arguing about the same issue with Commissioner PETEWON. 10. At that point, still before noon time in Hawaii, Commissioner PETEWON decided to indefinitely close the polling place in Honolulu, Hawaii for the Northern Namoneas region. 11. Only 200 or so voters of the 1,088 had voted from that precinct at that point in time, yet, Commissioner PETEWON unilaterally decided to close the poll based on an oral argument. 12. Commissioner PETEWON took no steps to contact Chairman SIVER or Director HERRY either electronically, telephonically or in writing prior to making the unilateral decision to close the poll. There were many voters from the Northern Namoneas region waiting to vote or had not yet arrived to vote at their polling place when Commissioner PETEWON decided unilaterally to close the precinct. 13. Appellant Killion, was in Chuuk at the time and received a telephonic call from Honolulu, Hawaii around eleven in the morning (3 p.m. Hawaii time) apprising him of the situation whereby Commissioner PETEWON unilaterally closed the polling place at issue. (A true and correct copy of Appellant Killion’s Sworn Affidavit is attached hereto as Exhibit “A”) 14. Appellant Killion attempted several times to contact the COMMISSION to determine if the Northern Namoneas VAAPP precinct or polling place would be reopened for the many registered voters who could not vote due to the closing. (Id.) 15. Appellant Killion managed to speak to Director HERRY telephonically. Director Herry told Appellant Killion that he heard from others here in Chuuk about the closing of the polling place at issue, but that he was unable to contact Commissioner PETEWON because he was unaware of his whereabouts in Hawaii or where Commissioner PETEWON was residing. Director HERRY also stated that Commissioner PETEWON had not called or contacted the COMMISSION in anyway regarding the situation of the Northern Namoneas VAAPP polling place in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Id.) 16. The ballot box from Northern Namoneas VAAPP in Honolulu, Hawaii was deemed spoiled and/or not tabulated and applied to the election results. 17. On or about March 8, 2009, Sinchy Louis, Chairman of the Tabulating Committee of the COMMISSION submitted a signed document stating that he solemnly swore that the election results of the March 2, 2009 in Honolulu, Hawaii are true to the best of his knowledge. (A true and correct copy of Sinchy Louis’ Letter is attached hereto as Exhibit “B”; see also the Tabulating Sheet attached hereto as Exhibit “B1”) For the Macheweichun polling place in Honolulu, Hawaii the sworn results showed Appellants garnered 191 votes. (Id.) 18. On or about March 8, 2009 the official results of the March 3, 2009 Chuuk Election for Governor and Lt. Governor were: Gillian Doone/Ritis Heldard 9,367 votes; Redley Killion/Jonathan Sondan Salle 9,214; and, Wesley Simina/Johnson Elimo, 10,719. The difference between the second and third place candidates was 152 votes. 19. The official results showed that Appellants received 130—and not 191 as sworn to by Sinchy Louis—votes for the Macheweichun polling place in Honolulu, Hawaii. (A true and correct copy of the Election Results for Macheweichun is attached hereto as Exhibit “C”) 20. On March 8, 2009, the Appellants sent a letter to the COMMISSION regarding discrepancies and requesting a revote for VAAPP Honolulu, Hawaii for Northern Namoneas. (A true and correct copy of Appellants’ letter is attached hereto as Exhibit “D”) 21. The COMISSION, on March 10, 2009, denied the request stating the following as reasons: (1) No available funds to conduct revote; (2) Conduct of revote will further delay the certification of results thereby contributing to the delay of the expected run-off for the office of the Governor; (3) Uncertainty of the security of the poll workers and voters; (4) Anticipation of enormous problems for jockeying of candidates’ positions which could possibly result into more controversies or problems; (5) Undue burden on the part of candidates to spend enormous amounts of money and other resources. (A true and correct copy of the COMMISSION’s First Denial is attached hereto as Exhibit “E”). 22. On March 11, 2009, the Appellants filed a formal complaint with the COMMISSION asking for, inter alia, a revote of the VAAP Northern Namoneas votes in Honolulu, Hawaii. (A true and correct copy of Appellants’ Complaint is attached hereto as Exhibit “F”) 23. On March 16, 2009 the COMMISSION denied Appellants’ complaint citing as its basis CSL 3-95-26, § 50, which states in full: LOSS OR DESTRUCTION OF BALLOTS. In case of the prevention of an election in any precinct by the loss or the destruction of ballots intended for that precinct, the inspector or other member of the board for that precinct, shall make an affidavit setting forth the fact, and transmit same to the Chairman of the Election Commission. Upon receipt of the affidavit, the Commission may and upon the application of any nominee for any office to be voted for by the electors of that precinct, order a new election in that precinct. (emphasis added) (A true and correct copy of the COMMISSION’s Second Denial is attached hereto as Exhibit “G”). 24. The COMMISSION’s rejection further stated that, “Undoubtedly we have the discretion whether or not to conduct a revote and considering the reasons as stated in our March 10, 2009 letter to you, the Commission is in physical inability to conduct the revote due to financial constraints and other considerations as stated in our letter.” (Id.) The COMMISSION provided no further explanation. IV. FIRST CLAIM VIOLATION of CSL 3-95-26, § 50 25. Appellants incorporates herein and realleges the allegations contained in paragraphs 1 through 24 of this Complaint. 26. The COMMISSION’s rejection of the Appellants’ revote request is based on general assertions, lack of investigation or fact finding, and is not based on the law (i.e. CSL 3-95-26, § 50). CSL 3-95-26, § 50 requires “loss or destruction of ballots.” Commissioner PETEWON unilaterally made the decision to close the polling place at issue, although the ballot was not loss or destroyed. The ballot box did fall to the ground, but in no event was it loss or destroyed. 27. Even assuming, strictly for argument sake, that the ballot box was loss or destroyed—as contended by the COMMISSION—there were steps that Commissioner PETEWON was mandated to follow as required by law, i.e. CSL 3-95-26, § 50. The law states, in relevant part, that if loss or destruction of ballots occur, the inspector or member of the board for the precinct, “shall make an affidavit setting forth the fact, and transmit same to the Chairman of the Election Commission.” 28. Commissioner PETEWON did not make an affidavit setting forth the facts and his reasons for closing of the polling place at issue. Because no affidavit was made as required by law, no transmission of the same to Chairman SIVER was made. As a result, Chairman SIVER could not and did not make a decision, based on the facts of the situation, whether to keep the precinct at issue open or to close it. 29. Furthermore, Commissioner PETEWON did not have the authority to unilaterally close the Northern Namoneas VAAPP precinct in Honolulu, Hawaii based on CSL 3-95 § 50. 30. Worth noting, CSL 3-95-26, § 50 allows for the COMMISSION to “order a new election in that precinct”; however, because Commissioner PETEWON failed to make an affidavit and Chairman SIVER failed to make the decision as to closing or opening of the Northern Namoneas VAAPP precinct in Honolulu, Hawaii, Appellees violated CSL 3-95-26, § 50. V. SECOND CLAIM VIOLATION OF ELECTION REGULATION NO. 1, RULE 11.3 31. Appellants incorporates herein and realleges the allegations contained in paragraphs 1 through 30 of this Complaint. 32. The 1999 Election Regulation No. 1, rule 11.3 states: Election proceedings shall not be prevented or stopped by anyone, except when in the best judgment of the precinct boards that there exists an imminently extreme and unpreventable danger to human beings especially voters at the poll. Such situation shall be conveyed by the inspector to the Executive Director by an immediate means of communication including CB radio. Upon confirmation of the closing of that poll by the Executive Director, the precinct board concerned shall close the poll and by any expeditious means transfer all election materials to the State Election Commission office on Weno. The Election Commission shall within one day after the closing of the poll decide whether to have a special election or not in the affected polling place. 33. As stated above, supra, Commissioner PETEWON was mandated, first, by law to draft an affidavit setting out the facts of the situation and was not authorized by law to make the unilateral decision to close the Northern Namoneas VAAPP precinct in Honolulu, Hawaii. 34. Furthermore, under Rule 11.3, the election proceedings shall not be stopped by anyone unless the precinct boards believe an “imminently extreme and unpreventable danger” existed at the precinct. 35. Because the Honolulu police showed up after the initial oral argument and the pushing of the ballot box to the ground, it was apparent that Commissioner PETEWON had the option to call the cops again if he felt there was imminent and unpreventable danger; however, he chose instead to close the precinct at issue. 36. Additionally, under Rule 11.3, “[s]uch situation shall be conveyed by the inspector to the Executive Director by an immediate means of communication….” Therefore, Commissioner PETEWON’s duty—as mandated by Regulation—was to convey the situation immediately to the Executive Director (i.e. Director HERRY). Commissioner PETEWON failed to communicate the situation to Director HERRY. 37. Because Commissioner PETEWON failed to communicate the situation to Director HERRY—who was the only person invested with the power under rule 11.3 to close the polling place— he (Director Herry) could not decide whether or not to do so. 38. Finally, the COMMISSION, under Rule 11.3 “shall within one day after the closing of the poll decide whether to have a special election or not in the affected polling place.” The COMMISSION utterly failed to—within a day of the incident—meet and decide whether to have a special election for that affected polling place. VI. THIRD CLAIM RECOUNTING OF MACHEWEICHUN’s HONOLULU, HAWAII BALLOT BOX 39. Appellants incorporates herein and realleges the allegations contained in paragraphs 1 through 38 of this Complaint. 40. On or about March 8, 2009, Sinchy Louis, Chairman of the Tabulating Committee of the COMMISSION submitted a signed document swearing to the truthfulness of the March 2, 2009 election tabulation and results for Honolulu, Hawaii showing Appellants garnered 191 votes for Macheweichun. 41. The official results later released by the COMMISSION, however, showed that Appellants received 130 votes for the Macheweichun polling place in Honolulu, Hawaii—not 191 as sworn to by Sinchy Louis. 42. From the documents provided by the COMMISSION, there are obvious inconsistencies or irregularities in the Macheweichun polling place in Honolulu, Hawaii. In the COMMISSION’s pointed March 16, 2009 denial of Appellants’ complaint, the COMMISSION gives no reason for the irregularities. 43. The difference between 191 votes and 130 votes is 61 votes. The difference between the second and third place candidates, without the irregularity, is 152 votes. If the COMMISSION was consistent and kept with Mr. Louis’ sworn statement, the difference between the second and third place would have been 91 and not 153. 44. Because the ballots have already been tabulated the irregularities by the COMMISSION is cemented into the results unless this honorable court orders a recount per CSL 3-95-26, § 120, which states: The Commission shall not review any ballots already tabulated, and certified except as permitted on a recount which shall be conducted by the Commission only upon the order of a court of competent jurisdiction. 45. The Appellants recognize that 61 votes would not, by itself, change the election results; however, it would lessen the difference between the second and third place candidates should this Court grant the revote for the Northern Namoneas VAAPP precinct in Honolulu, Hawaii. VII. FOURTH CLAIM INJUNCTIVE RELIEF 46. Appellants incorporates herein and realleges the allegations contained in paragraphs 1 through 45 of this Complaint. 47. Appellants are specifically requesting for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the COMMISSION from conducting the Chuuk State Governor and Lt. Governor run-off election scheduled for March 31, 2009. 48. Based on the factual allegation and what will be proven in court, the Appellants have a strong likelihood of success on the merits being that the laws and regulations were violated by the Appellees. Commissioner PETEWON made the unilateral decision without any legal authority to close the voting precinct before mid day in Honolulu, Hawaii for the Northern Namoneas region. 49. Irreparable injury to the Appellants will occur if this honorable Court does not grant injunctive relief. Not only will the Appellants rights to have a fair and open election be violated in that proper procedures were not followed by the Appellees, but the constitutional right to vote of the hundreds of registered voters from the Northern Namoneas region in Honolulu, Hawaii will also be violated. Chairman SIVER and Director HERRY were not made aware of the situation by Commissioner PETEWON, thus, they failed to properly assess the situation and make the necessary determination as to keep that voting precinct open or not. 50. If the Court were to balance the possible injuries and inconvenience to the parties, the Appellants’ arguments must prevail. As mentioned above, the Appellants right to have a fair and open election and the likelihood of being in the Governor run-off outweighs the COMMISSION’s cost of flying employees to cast a revote of only that one precinct. 51. Election Regulation No. 2, Rule 1.1 states there are precincts within and outside Chuuk State as follows: (1) Northern Namoneas Region consisting of the islands of Fonoton, Piis-Panewu and Weno; (2) Southern Namoneas Region consisting of the islands of Tonoas, Etten, Fefen, Parem, Siis, Totiw and Uman; (3) Faichuk consisting of the islands of Udot, Eot, Fanapanges, Ramanum, Polle, Paata, Wonei and Tolensom; (4) Mortlocks Region consisting of the islands of Losap, Nema, Piss-Emwar, Kuttu, Ettal, Moch, Namoluk, Ta, Satowan, Oneop and Lekenioch; and (5) Northwest Region consisting of the islands of Ruo, Fananu, Murilo and Nomwin, intheHalls, Onoun, Makur, Onou, Unanu and Piherarh in the Namwunito and Houk, Pollap, Polowat and Tamatam in the Western. Outside of Chuuk State precincts shall be established on Guam, Pohnpei, Majuro, Saipan, Hawaii, USA mainland and any other places outside of the State as the Election Commission may determine as necessary and appropriate. 52. Out of all the precincts listed above, Appellants are asking for the revote of one precinct from one region only in Honolulu, Hawaii (i.e. not anywhere else in Chuuk State, Guam, Pohnpei, Majuro, Saipan, or the USA). More importantly, a precinct that in all likelihood can change the outcome of who is in the run-off for Governor and Lt. Governor. 53. Additionally, the COMMISSION’s denial of Appellants request for revote was due, in part, to “No Available Funds to Conduct the Revote.” However, under CSL 3-95-26, § 42, it states that: [a]s directed by a majority of vote of the Commission, the signature of the Executive Director or Chairman of the Election Commission validating a recall petition, shall trigger the automatic appropriation of funds necessary to cover a recall election expenses which amount shall not exceed that actually spent for the recent general election for Governor or Lt. Governor…. (emphasis added) 54. The COMMISSION stated it had no funds for the revote, but the law is clear that if a majority of votes were given for the revote by the commissioners, it would have automatically triggered the necessary funds for the revote; therefore, the claim of lack of funds by the COMMISSION is baseless. 55. There is certainly a major impact to the public interest if the injunctive relief sought by Appellants is not granted by this honorable Court and the March 31, 2009 run-off takes place. Again, the fundamental, constitutional right to vote of the hundreds of registered voters from the Northern Namoneas region in Honolulu, Hawaii will be violated. 56. More importantly, by granting the injunctive relief (temporarily stopping the run-off) and allowing the revote, it is highly probable that the public could have the Appellants in the run-off and possibly future Governor and Lt. Governor of Chuuk State. There is nothing more significant to the impact of the public’s interest than the candidates that the public votes for and, ultimately, elects to be the highest public officer in the state for at least four years. WHEREFORE, Appellants pray for relief as follows: 1. Over rule the COMMISSION’s March 16, 2009 decision not to conduct a revote at the Northern Namoneas VAAPP precinct in Honolulu, Hawaii; 2. Set a date for the immediate revote to take place for the Northern Namoneas VAAPP precinct in Honolulu, Hawaii; 3. Order the COMMISSION recount the Macheweichun’s Honolulu, Hawaii ballot box; and, 4. That a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction be issued enjoining the COMMISSION from conducting the Chuuk State Governor and Lt. Governor run-off, pending the revote and tabulation of the Northern Namoneas VAAPP precinct in Honolulu, Hawaii. RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED this _____ day of March, 2009. By: __________________________________________ Kasio “Kembo” Mida, Jr., Attorney for Appellants Associate Attorney Fredrick L. Ramp Law Firm CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE I hereby certify that on this ___ day of , 2009, I caused to be served a true and correct copy of Appellants’ Complaint on the following by hand delivery on: MARINO SIVER, Chairman, Chuuk State Election Commission RUFUS PETEWON, Commissioner Faichuk Region, Chuuk State Election Commission YASEN Y. HERRY, Executive Director, Chuuk State Election Commission CHUUK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE For Chuuk Sate Election Commission

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