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Candidates Disqualified for Missing Deadline

Candidates Disqualified for Missing Deadline

Posted - Oct. 31, 2003 at 4:38 p.m.



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Richard Piatt ReportingA list of city council candidates in five cities have been disqualified from next Tuesday's election because of a state law with new, strict penalties.

Tonight, candidates in Lehi and Eagle Mountain are back on the ballot after taking the issue to court. But those running in Draper, Brigham City, and Spanish Fork are still talking to lawyers.

The problem for these candidates is the due date for filing campaign disclosure forms. All of them missed it and now each is fighting a drastic penalty: removal from the ballot.

It's a simple task, most candidates do it. But in Draper and in four other Utah cities, some running for office didn't file campaign disclosure forms on time. This week, City Council hopeful Summer Pugh found out what the consequences are.

Summer Pugh, Draper City Council Candidate: “The penalty is so harsh. I mean a few days before the election to be taken off is not the intent of the law.”

It's the same for one of Pugh's opponents, Pete Larkin. Both have been disqualified from the election.

An old state law now has a new penalty: Candidates must file seven days before the election or votes for them won't count on Election Day.

Pete Larkin, Candidate For Draper City Council: "This has been a shock to everybody. And I think in the spirit of fairness that everybody should be reinstated, and the law looked at and maybe tweeked a little bit."

In fact, six Lehi city council candidates fought the issue in court and are back on the ballot tonight. Each blame a misunderstanding for filing late. And each argues a larger concern: a law that could wipe out the people's vote in favor of political appointees.

Mark Johnson, Lehi City Council Incumbent: “Bottom line is this: our names are back on the ballot. The citizens of Lehi have an opportunity to vote again. They get to select who they have in office."

As of tonight, absentee voters in Draper won't know if a vote for Pugh and Larkin will count or not. Both are also planning to fight the issue in court, as are candidates in Brigham City and Spanish Fork. Until then, those cities are following the letter of the law.

Jeff Hymas, Draper City Spokesman: "Our hands are tied with the situation. State law says their names must be blackened out if they don't file in time and that's the case."

A city council candidate in Eagle Mountain also took this issue to court today, and is back on the ballot tonight. The rest will have to wait until Monday, the day before the election, to argue their case in front of a judge.

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