Glenwood Springs deems write-in City Council candidate ineligible to run
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A write-in candidate who declared for the Ward 3 Glenwood Springs City Council seat has been ruled ineligible by the city clerk for not having been a registered voter in his ward for the required period of time.
However, would-be candidate Dirk Myers appealed to the city attorney for a legal ruling on the matter. He says the rules weren’t clearly spelled out on the candidate affidavit form or in the city’s advertised call for nominations, and that he should be allowed to run.
Myers said he moved to Glenwood Springs from Gloversville, N.Y., on March 15, 2010, when he was transferred to a new position by his company. Myers is the regional general manager for Bow Tie Cinemas and Properties, which owns the Movieland Theater in El Jebel and other commercial and residential holdings in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Although he has lived in Ward 3 since that time, he didn’t officially register as a Glenwood Springs city voter until April 14, 2010.
City Clerk Robin Unsworth said the city’s charter is clear that candidates must have lived in their ward, and been a registered voter, for one year prior to an election before they are eligible to run for office.
The City Council election will be on April 5.
“The candidate affidavit form also says you must be both registered and living in the ward for more than one year before the election date,” Unsworth said.
City attorney Jan Shute has concurred with the city clerk’s ruling.
Myers filed an affidavit of intent to run as a write-in candidate for the Ward 3 seat last Friday, one business day before the Monday, Jan. 31, write-in deadline. Myers had initially taken out a nominating petition to be on the ballot, but did not turn it in by the Jan. 24 deadline.
If allowed to run as a write-in, he would face Todd Leahy in the race for the open Ward 3 seat. Leahy did file his candidate petition in time, and his name will appear on the ballot.
“To me, it comes back to the point that I don’t think there was full disclosure about the voter requirement on any of the forms.” Myers said of the eligibility question Thursday.
He said he had no knowledge of the charter requirement.
“I acted in good faith and with no malice with the information and notices presented by the city,” Myers said.
He referred to the “Call for Nominations” published in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent in late December and early January, which included the following requirements for office:
“All candidates must be a citizen of the United States, have resided in the city of Glenwood Springs for one year immediately prior to the date of the election, and be a qualified elector as defined by the laws of the state of Colorado.”
Nowhere is there a mention of the length of time a person must have been a registered city elector, he said.
“I’m not looking for a free pass, but I have spent time and money to become a candidate, only to be told after the fact that I’m not eligible,” he said, adding that he has received outside legal opinions that the city is in error. “I should be allowed to remain as a write-in candidate based on these errors.”
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