DRAFT CSC, Title 13.  Elections
 
CHAPTER 8
Election Contests

1701.  Contestant and defendant defined.
1702.  Irregularity or misconduct not affecting result.
1703.  Where illegal votes not necessary to majority.
1704.  Complaint by contestant.
1705.  Verification.
1706.  Allegation of illegal votes.
1707.  Technical errors in allegations disregarded.
1708.  Special session.
1709.  Trial.
1710.  Recount at trial.
1711.  Declaration of election by Court.
1712.  Certificate of election.
1713.  Annulment of prior Certificate.
1714.  Costs of contest proceedings.
1715.  Apportionment of costs of contests.
1716.  Appeal from judgment.
1717.  Effect of judgment setting aside election.

      1701.  Contestant and defendant defined.
     When used in this Act Title, "contestant" means any person initiating an election contest.  "Defendant" means that person whose election or qualification is contested or those persons receiving an equal or larger number of votes, other than the contestant, when the body canvassing the returns declares that no one person has received the largest number of votes for the contested office.  The Commission or an individual member may be a defendant.

Source:  CSL 3-95-26, 123, modified.

Cross-reference: The constitutional provisions on suffrage and elections are found in Article XII of the Chuuk State Constitution which reads as follows:

Article XII
SUFFRAGE AND ELECTIONS

Section 1.  A general election shall be held every 2 years on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in March. If the general election date for the Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia is changed from March, or reasons such as natural disaster preclude the holding of an election on the date set, the election shall be held as prescribed by statute.
Section 2.  A citizen of the Federated States of Micronesia who is a resident of the State of Chuuk and has attained the age of 18 may vote in the State. Voting shall be secret.
Section 3.  The Legislature shall prescribe by statute a minimum period of voter residency; disqualifications for conviction of crime, mental incompetence, or insanity; and for the protection of voting in the State of Chuuk. Except as so provided, no resident entitled to vote may be denied the privilege to vote or be interfered with in voting.
Section 4.  There shall be an independent Election Commission vested with powers, duties, and responsibilities, as prescribed by statute, for the administration of elections in the State of Chuuk, including voter registration and the conduct and certification of elections.

      1702.  Irregularity or misconduct not affecting result.
     No irregularity or improper conduct in the proceedings of any precinct election board shall void an election result, unless such irregularity or misconduct resulted in a defendant being declared either elected or tied for election.

Source:  CSL 3-95-26, 124.

      1703.  Where illegal votes not necessary to majority.
     An election shall not be set aside on account of illegal votes, unless it appears that such number of illegal votes has been given to the person whose right to the office is contested or who has been certified as having tied for first place, which, if taken from him, would reduce the number of his legal votes below the number of votes given to some other person for the same office, after deducting therefrom the illegal votes which may be shown to have been given to such other person.

Source:  CSL 3-95-26, 125.

      1704.  Complaint be contestant.
     When a voter contests any election he shall file with the Chuuk State Election Commission a written complaint, setting forth specifically:

     (a) (1)  The name of the contestant and that he is a voter of the State, municipality or precinct, as the case may be, in which the contested election was held;

     (b) (2)  The name of the defendant;

     (c) (3)  The office; and

     (d) (4)  The particular grounds of the contest.

Source:  CSL 3-95-26, 126, modified.

      1705.  Verification.
     The contestant shall verify the statement of contest, and shall file it within five (5) days after the declaration of the result of the election by the body canvassing the returns thereof.

Source:  CSL 3-95-26, 127.

      1706.  Allegation of illegal votes.
     When the reception of illegal votes is alleged as a cause of contest, it is sufficient to state generally that in one (1) or more specific voting precinct votes were given to the defendant, which, if taken from him would reduce the number of his legal votes below the number of legal votes given to the other person for the same office.  The Chuuk State Election Commission shall cause to be delivered to the defendant, a copy of the complaint filed by the contestant.

Source:  CSL 3-95-26, 128.

      1707.  Technical errors in allegations disregarded.
     A statement of the grounds of contest shall not be rejected, nor the proceedings dismissed by the Commission or any court, for want of form, if the grounds of contest are alleged with such certainty as will advise the defendant of the particular ground or cause for which the election is contested.

Source:  CSL 3-95-26, 129.

      1708.  Special session.
     Within three (3) days after the end of time allowed for filing statements of contest, the Election Commission shall meet in a special session to hear, investigate, and decide on any complaint brought before it.  The Commission shall issue its determination within two 2 days of the commencement of its special session.  A decision of the Chuuk State Election Commission may be appealed to the Appellate Division of the Chuuk State Supreme Court.

Source:  CSL 3-95-26, 130.

      1709.  Trial.
     The Appellate Division of the Chuuk State Supreme Court shall meet within seven 7 days of its receipt of a complaint to determine the contested election, and shall have all the powers necessary to make the determination thereof.  It may adjourn from day to day but shall decide on the contested election prior to the date upon which the declared winning candidates are to take office.  In the case of a contested election of a member-elect of the Senate or House of Representatives, the decision of the specific House concerned shall prevail and is final.

Source:  CSL 3-95-26, 131.

      1710.  Recount at trial.
     At the trial, if ordered, the ballots shall be opened and a recount taken, in the presence of all parties, of the vote's cast for the various candidates in all contests where it appears from the statements filed that a recount is necessary for the proper determination of the contest.  The Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court may, if two (2) or more statements of contest are filed requiring a recount, join together the actions of the contestant for the purpose of recounting the votes.

Source:  CSL 3-95-26, 132.

Cross-reference:  The statutory provisions on the Judiciary are found in Title 5 of this Code.

      1711.  Declaration of election by Court.
     If in any election contest which does not involve members-elect of the Legislature, it appears that another person than the defendant has the largest number of legal votes, the Court shall declare that person elected.

Source:  CSL 3-95-26, 133.

      1712.  Certificate of election.
     The person declared by the Appellate Division of the Chuuk State Supreme Court is entitled to a certificate of election.  If a certificate has not already been issued to him, the Commission shall immediately make out and deliver to that person a certificate of election signed by the Court and authenticated with the seal of the State Supreme Court.

Source:  CSL 3-95-26, 134.

Cross-reference:  The statutory provisions on the Judiciary are found in Title 5 of this Code.

      1713.  Annulment of prior certificate.
     If the Commission has issued any certificate for the same office to any other person than the one declared elected by the Court, such certificate shall become annulled by the judgment of the Court.

Source:  CSL 3-95-26, 135.

      1714.  Costs of contest proceedings.
     If the proceedings under this Act Title are dismissed for insufficiency, or for want of prosecution, or the election is confirmed by the Court, judgment shall be rendered against the contestants, for costs, in favor of the defendant.  If the election is annulled or set aside, judgment for costs shall be rendered against the defendant, in favor of the contestant.

Source:  CSL 3-95-26, 136.

      1715.  Apportionment of costs of contest.
     Where two (2) or more contests are adjoined for the purpose of recounting votes as provided by this Act Chapter, the costs shall be apportioned among the parties in the discretion of the Court.

Source:  CSL 3-95-26, 137.

      1716.  Appeal from judgment.
     Any party aggrieved by the judgment of the Appellate Court may appeal therefrom to the Appellate Division of the FSM Supreme Court, as in other cases of appeal.  During the pendency of proceedings on appeal, and until final determination thereof, the person declared elected by the State Appellate Court shall be entitled to the office in like manner as if no appeal had been taken.

Source:  CSL 3-95-26, 138.

Cross-reference:  The statutory provisions on the Judiciary are found in Title 5 of this Code.

      1717.  Effect of judgment setting aside election.
     Whenever an election is annulled or set aside by the judgment of the State Supreme Court, and no appeal has been taken within five (5) days thereafter, the certification, if any has been issued, is void and the office is vacant.

Source:  CSL 3-95-26, 139.