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Ex-Draper council candidate claims employee and fast clock wrongly tossed him from race

By Annie Knox, KSL | Updated - Aug. 20, 2019 at 6:34 p.m. | Posted - Aug. 20, 2019 at 4:08 p.m.

DRAPER — A disqualified candidate for Draper City Council is suing the city claiming its elections officer and a too-fast clock in her office improperly kept him out of the race.

Hubert Huh says he arrived at the city recorder’s office to file a campaign finance report with about a minute to spare on Aug. 6, but was turned away and disqualified from the race, according to the legal complaint filed Monday in 3rd District Court.

City Recorder Laura Oscarson initially gave an incorrect Aug. 8 deadline for campaign finance disclosures and didn’t point out the error in later emails that referenced the correct cutoff, which was two days earlier at 5 p.m., Huh’s attorneys say in the lawsuit.

They argue Oscarson was inconsistent in how she corrected the error in her correspondence with candidates and denied Huh due process. Reached by phone, Oscarson deferred comment to a Draper spokeswoman.

The city said Huh failed to provide the necessary information by the deadline set by state election law, though each of 11 other city council candidates complied. It offered a different view of the timeline in a statement from spokeswoman Muriel Xochimitl.

“The city provided all candidates with the same information regarding pertinent deadlines and requirements. Mr. Huh, however, did not provide his disclosures until 6:38 p.m. on Tuesday, August 6 — much later than the state-mandated filing deadline. As a result, Huh was disqualified from the race,” the statement said.

Huh contends the Aug. 13 primary is invalid and he seeks to appear on the November general election ballot after a new primary contest. His suit also names Oscarson and Salt Lake County as defendants.

Huh contends he learned of the correct deadline roughly 15 minutes beforehand and called the recorder’s office to say he would drive there. When he arrived, Oscarson said it was 5:01 p.m. and “told Mr. Huh that he had already been disqualified, that there was nothing she could do, and directed him to contact the lieutenant governor’s election office,” the suit says.

The following week, a pair of private investigators working for Huh determined the clock in the recorder’s office was about 2 minutes and 30 seconds fast when compared with the U.S. Naval Observatory’s master clock, according to the lawsuit. The city also later told Huh he hadn’t had the proper form, but he contends a campaign finance statement can be written on any piece of paper.

Huh, an Army veteran and Korean-American who works for the Utah Transit Authority, was proud to be the only nonwhite candidate for council, his lawsuit says. His attorney, Todd Weiler, said Tuesday he does not know his client’s political affiliation.

Annie Knox

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