Before letting the attorneys start arguments, U.S. District Court Judge A. Wallace Tashima ruled he would not “take notice” of the Aug. 11 primary results that showed former Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano as the lead vote-getter in the election.

The plaintiffs wanted this information in the record because they considered it relevant to combat assertions by the defense (mainly the city and county of Honolulu) that the public favors the $5.26 billion rail project.

I guess the idea would be that Cayetano capturing more than 40 percent of the vote in a three-way race is the same as a referendum on the project.

Tashima didn’t buy it and decided to rule against the plaintiff’s request saying, “who wins the election is not to be a determinant of what happens in court.”

He said the only issue is whether the city and the Federal Transit Administration followed the law when choosing to move ahead with the heavy rail project.

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