Pima County Superior Court Judge Gus Aragon ruled this morning to dismiss the case requesting an injunction to the recall election for both the mayoral and one of the council positions.
The case was originally filed on Sept. 18 as two separate items but consolidated by the courts and involved the placement on the upcoming recall ballot of Joseph Winfield as a mayoral candidate, and Doug Burke as a candidate for the council position of Mary Snider. The plaintiff in the case, Donald Bristow, challenged the validity of Winfield and Burke as candidates because both men submitted “faulty petitions.”
The Town of Oro Valley filed to have the case dismissed on the grounds that the election had already begun due to Military, Overseas and Absentee Voter ballots having already been returned with votes from Oro Valley citizens living out of country by the time the lawsuit was filed.
According to court documents, “As to Winfield [Bristow] alleges that some of the petitions did not have the proper certifications on the back side. As to Burke [Bristow] alleges that none of the petitions has any of the required information on the backside.” No criminal claim, act of fraud or deception was brought against the defendants during the two-day hearing.
Aside from Winfield and Burke, members of Oro Valley town government were required to be present at the hearing as defendants, in accordance with Arizona Revised Statutes.
Testimony was given by town and local officials in regards to the processes of collecting candidacy nomination petitions, compiling ballots and sending ballots to the printing company to be printed and compiled.
Based on evidence and testimony given during the proceeding, the court found that the plaintiff, Donald Bristow, was not subject to the defense of laches based on when he received the necessary information and when the lawsuit was filed. The court also found no intentional wrongdoing on the part of any of the defendants, including Oro Valley Town Clerk Julie Bower.
In the matter of the issues raised regarding the legitimacy of Burke and Winfield’s candidacies in the upcoming election, the court found it to be moot as of the time of the electronic ballots sent out the morning of Sept. 18, “and certainly by the time the first electronic ballots were received on that morning.”
Because of the decision of the court, both Winfield and Burke will remain on the ballot in the upcoming Oro Valley recall election.