John Daley ReportingIt was an extraordinary session of the Utah Supreme Court today as justices settled a big election question and put Republican Ellis Ivory back on the ballot.
The Utah Supreme Court this afternoon reversed a lower court's ruling in the Salt Lake County mayor's race. The move officially puts Republican Ellis Ivory back on the ballot, replacing embattled Mayor Nancy Workman.
State law says a candidate may be replaced only if they die, run for president or vice-president, or "become physically or mentally disabled--as certified by a physician." Today the state Supreme Court ruled the controversial note from Workman's doctor does, in fact, meet that standard.
KSL aired a live video feed for the extraordinary day in court. Cameras have been allowed at sessions of the Utah Supreme Court since 1990, but the justices felt the dispute over ballots for Salt Lake County Mayor was so important they allowed TV stations to carry court proceedings live for the first time.
The question at hand was the doctor's note for Mayor Nancy Workman when she dropped out, which opened the door for the GOP to replace her on the ballot. It reads "the strain upon her physical and emotional condition disable her from continuing as a political candidate..."
The lawyer for the Democrats argued the letter never actually says Workman is "mentally or physically disabled," as state law requires, so she shouldn't be replaced.
Attorneys for the county Republican Party and county clerk’s office argued the doctor's note is close enough and GOP voters deserve their endorsed candidate on the ballot.
Just hours after court adjourned came a unanimous decision from the state's highest court, saying the letter from Doctor Roberts "substantially complies with the minimal requirements of the Utah Election Code." Therefore, Ivory goes back on the ballot. He says he got word just after a campaign event.
Ellis Ivory, (R) Candidate for Mayor: “Came out of the debate and driving home when I got the word. First thought was I was just very happy, very pleased.”
Peter Corron, (D) Candidate for Mayor: “I want to emphasize that I was opposed to the lawsuit from the beginning because I believe the issue will be decided in the public court during the election.”
The democratic party chair says he has no second thoughts.
Donald Dunn, Chair, Utah Democratic Party: “No, I mean we wanted the court to hear this. And they heard that. While we disagree with the decision, we respect this process and respect the court.”
Last week Workman laughed when asked by reporters if she is disabled. In its decision, the court wrote, "because the issue was not before us, we express no opinion as to whether or not Mayor Workman is, in fact, disabled."
So now, with four and half days before the polls open the Salt Lake County election ballot is now settled and the candidates can begin focusing on the issues.