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Democrats Question Legality of Adding Ivory to Ballot

Democrats Question Legality of Adding Ivory to Ballot

Posted - Oct. 15, 2004 at 4:56 p.m.



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John Daley ReportingDemocrats hand delivered a letter containing 11 questions to the Salt Lake County clerk today, asking if placing write-in candidate Ellis Ivory on the ballot would pass the test legally. A decision is expected soon and it could have a big impact on the election.

All eyes are on the clerk's office, awaiting a decision about whether or not Ivory's name should be placed on the ballot replacing Mayor Nancy Workman. Meantime, all sides are preparing for a court fight, the focus of which will be the way Workman withdrew.

When Nancy Workman dropped out of the Mayor's race she had a choice. To simply withdraw or to do it along with a doctor's letter, which would pave the way for another Republican to be placed on the ballot. The doctor's note from Dr. Philip Roberts reads, "the strain upon her physical and emotional condition disable her from continuing as a political candidate."

Late the next afternoon the GOP came to the county clerk's office petitioning to place well-known developer Ellis Ivory, a former close supporter of Workman's reelection, on the ballot in her place.

Today another visit to the clerk's office, this time the Democratic party chief with a letter raising serious questions about Workman's "disability" to serve and the legality of putting Ivory on the ballot.

Donald Dunn, (D) Utah Democratic Party: “It seems a little fishy that it’s coming here at the end. And the way the law is written, we want it to be addressed.”

Dunn hints a lawsuit is likely over questions like, is Workman's note a certificate as required by law? Was Workman truly unable to serve if elected? And shouldn't a psychiatrist, not an internist, decide if she's suffering from a mental disability?

One political observer predicts the case will go all the way to the Utah Supreme Court.

Tim Chambless, Univ. of Utah Political Science Professor: “Historically political questions become legal questions. Americans, when in doubt, go to court.”

With citizens already voting absentee and thousands of voting machines waiting to be altered if need be, the clerk is waiting for word from county attorneys who are conferring with the state elections office. She says time is of the essence.

Sherrie Swensen, Salt Lake County Clerk : “I’m pleading for a decision to be made as soon as possible so we can move forward with a plan.”

Mayor Nancy Workman is due back in court on Monday for arraignment on two felony charges of misuse of public funds. Her attorney tells us she's still eager for a trial on the charges.

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