6.0903 Contests for cause-Filing complaint.

(a) In general or special elections, the complaint shall be filed in the office of the Clerk of the High Court not later than 4:30 p.m. on the 7th calendar day following the general, special, or runoff election and shall be accompanied by a deposit of $25 for costs of court. The Clerk shall issue to the defendants named in the complaint a summons to appear and answer before the Appellate Division of the High Court not later than 4:30 p.m. on the 5th day after service thereof.

(b) In cases involving general, special, or runoff elections, the complaint shall be heard by the High Court as soon as it reasonably may be heard. On the return day, the court, upon its motion or otherwise, may direct summons to be issued to any person who may be interested in the result of the proceedings.

(c) At the hearing, the court shall cause the evidence to be reduced to writing and shall give judgment, stating all findings of fact and conclusions of law. The judgment may invalidate the general, special, or runoff election on the grounds that a correct result cannot be ascertained because of a mistake or fraud on the part of the district or election officials; or because it cannot be determined that a certain candidate, or certain candidates, received a majority or plurality of votes cast and were elected. If the judgment should be that the general or special election was invalid, a certified copy thereof shall be filed with the Governor, and he shall duly call a new election to be held not later than 30 days after the election in dispute. In the interests of justice, the High Court may extend the date for a runoff election, but not later than 16 days following the date fixed by law. If the High Court does not render its judgment in that time, the election shall proceed as certified by the Chief Election Officer. If the court decides which candidate or candidates have been elected, a copy of that judgment shall be served on the Chief Election Officer, who shall sign and deliver to the candidate or candidates certificates of election, and they shall be conclusive of the right of the candidate or candidates to the offices.

History: 1977, PL 15-42 § 1.

Case Notes:

Subsection (c) is interpreted to mean that the election is to be invalidated only if the number of ineligible ballots cast is equal to or greater than the number of votes by which the leading candidate defeated his closest adversary. Dole v. Attorney General, ASR (1978).

Under statute requiring election appeals to be filed by 4:30 p.m., on the seventh calendar day following the election, court had no jurisdiction over an appeal filed at 8:00 p.m. on the seventh day. A.S.C.A. § 6.0903(a). Tuika v. Chief Election Officer, 9 A.S.R. 2d 57 (1988).

An election is to be invalidated only if it cannot be determined that a candidate polled a majority or plurality of the valid votes cast on election day. A.S.C.A., § 6.0903. Faga v. Malepeai, 23 A.S.R.2d 48 (1992).