Ogden City Councilmen Neil K. Garner and Bart Blair suddenly are on their way to the easiest re-election victories imaginable. Even before the first Election Day ballot is cast, their opponents were disqualified for failure to file required campaign financial disclosures.
Challengers Pamela Shupe Stevens and Courtney Jon White failed to submit campaign finance statements by a Tuesday deadline. Stevens was running against Garner in Municipal Ward 1 and White was challenging Blair for the at-large Seat B.
Stevens did not submit a report. White turned his report in on Wednesday, but it was deemed too late.
"The deadline is the deadline," Ogden City Recorder Tracy Hansen said Friday, adding that state law does not allow municipalities to accept late filings.
She said there has been one other candidate disqualification in the 10 years she has been with the city.
Hansen said the candidates have not indicated they will appeal the disqualification. Notices will be posted at all polling locations and on the city website that votes for Stevens and White — either in early voting that ended Friday or on Tuesday, Election Day — will not be counted, she said.
Neither candidate could be reached for comment, but White said on his Facebook campaign page that his late filing was due to a work emergency.
"I appreciate the support I’ve received, and I may try again in the future when my schedule is a little more yielding and predictable," he said.
Mark Thomas, chief deputy/director of elections in the Utah Lieutenant Governor’s Office, said candidates occasionally go to court to appeal a disqualification and once in a while get back on the ballot. He said everyone running for office is informed that failure to file finance statements on time will result in disqualification.
"It’s not fun to have to remove a candidate, particularly so close to Election Day," Thomas said, "but campaign finance is an important part of the election."
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