Residents sue over botched election map
Republican delegates in Cedar Hills are asking a judge to require the Utah County GOP to delay a special election to replace former Rep. Craig Frank and force the Legislature to recognize errant boundaries drawn by the Utah County Clerk.
The lead plaintiff in the 4th District lawsuit is Kim Frank, the wife of the former representative, who begrudgingly surrendered his seat when it was discovered that he hadn't lived in his House District 57 since January 2009.
The delegates argue that they have operated under the clerk's errant map since 2002, electing representatives to the state House, Senate and U.S. Congress, only to find this month that they have been voting in the wrong election.
"It's like a common law marriage," Kim Frank said Thursday. "We've been married to District 57 for 10 years â¦ so recognize us as married to District 57 and delegates for District 57."
The lawsuit argues that, since the voters acted in good faith and the election was certified by state and local officials, the disputed area of Cedar Hills was legally in House District 57.
If the delegates prevail in their suit, filed just before 5 p.m. Thursday, "it would allow anybody who lives in these precincts, including Craig, to run for those offices," Kim Frank said.
The lawsuit names Gov. Gary Herbert, Lt. Gov. Greg Bell, the state and county Republican Party, and the Utah County clerk.
As a result, the official name of the lawsuit happens to be Frank vs. Herbert.
The issue stems from a map drawn by the Utah County clerk after redistricting in 2001 that mistakenly included areas in the north end of Cedar Hills which the Legislature had not.
Frank, who was appointed to the seat in 2003, moved to the north end of the city in January 2009, believing it was still inside the district before discovering nearly three weeks ago it was not.
He fought for nearly two weeks to keep his seat, but resigned last week. The Legislature had considered re-drawing the boundaries to include the northern precincts, but supporters were unable to get the two-thirds support that would be needed for the change to take effect immediately.
The Utah County Republican Party has scheduled for Saturday a special election to replace Frank, but the delegates are demanding the election be delayed until it is determined whether they are eligible to vote.
Taylor Oldroyd, chairman of the county party, said the plan is to proceed with the election unless a judge tells them otherwise.
"Essentially they're making a similar argument to what we were asking the Legislature to do to correct the boundaries. I don't disagree with anything they're saying but the party still has an obligation to move forward," Oldroyd said.
"Given that we're right in the [legislative] session, we need to move forward because there's a whole district that has no representation right now."
Oldroyd said there are two delegates whose homes are on the boundary line. He plans to let those delegates vote in the election.
A person elected or appointed to the office of senator or representative may not continue to serve in that office after ceasing to be a resident of the district from which elected or for which appointed.