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Judge removes Democratic candidate from CD-8 special elections ballot


NORTH VALLEY – Maricopa County election officials reviewed the validity of signatures from two candidates that are listed on the  ballot of the upcoming special congressional elections in district 8, and determined that one of the three democratic candidates running needs to be removed from the ballot because they did not collect enough signatures.
A Superior Court judge determined on January 23 that, Gene Scharer, who was once on the ballot, be removed because he fell short of collecting the 665 signatures needed; with only 353 signatures validated. The judge also reviewed the signatures collected by Democratic candidate, Brianna Westbrook, but determined that she had collected 669 valid signatures, which allowed her to remain on the ballot.
A supporter of the third Democratic candidate, Hilal Tipirneni, was the plaintiff who challenged the signatures of both Democratic candidates, and filed the signature challenges with the court on January 18.
The Secretary of State argued against the change to the ballots in court stating that it was too late to make a challenge to the signatures, but the judge ruled against the state saying that the election date could be set a week later, which would be in compliance with election laws while still giving officials enough time to remedy signature challenges.
Now the Maricopa County Elections Department must resend 151 corrected ballots to overseas and military voters.  Six ballots were already returned, but those voters will receive new updated ones. The elections department will hold the initial ballots returned by the Democratic overseas and military voters until the voters return the new, updated ballot. If the voters do not return the second ballot, the first ballot will be processed.
The District 8 special elections is to fill former Trent Franks seat, who resigned in December.  The primary election will be held on Feb. 27, followed by the general election on April 24.