From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 7, Number 1 - March 29, 2007
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Judgment in election suit effective immediately

by Janet Montgomery

On March 20, the Ninth Judicial District Court Judge Norman Young signed the formal partial judgment on the civil action against the 2006 municipal election in May and did not grant the requested stay but rather ordered the judgment to become effective immediately.

“District Court Judge Norman Young entered his formal order today. He did not issue a stay of the Judgment as previously requested. As a result, Councilman David Smith will be replaced by the candidate with the third highest votes, Dave Hohl, in accordance with state statute Wy. Stat. 22-17-108,” said Pinedale Mayor Stephen Smith of no relation in a statement released last week. “We are sorry to see Councilman Smith go, and I personally appreciate his dedication and service to the town. We will all continue working productively with our new councilman, to continue solving the many pressing issues facing our town.”

Young noted in the court documents, “In this case, the more likely irreparable damage would result from granting a stay.”

Young ruled from the bench on March 8 that Dave Smith was not a qualified candidate at the time of the Pinedale Municipal Election. Young then annulled the election of David Smith and declared Dave Hohl the elected official for the Town Council of Pinedale.

The civil action filed on May 30 challenged the May 2, 2006, town election, claiming that two of the candidates, David M. Smith and Erik Ashley, were not qualified electors as they failed to meet the registered voter requirement and should not have been on the ballot.

With the most votes of any candidate at 183, David Smith was elected to the Pinedale Town Council along with Chris House, who is also named as a defendant in the suit along with Ashley and Pinedale Town Clerk Patty Racich.

The plaintiffs, Robert Brito, who was also a candidate in the election, along with fellow Pinedale resident Loretta Deats, filed the civil action asking the May 2 municipal election to be annulled and that David Hohl, the candidate with the third highest number of votes, take the council seat, according to court documents.

While Brito also previously questioned the validity of the council’s decision made since placing David Smith on the board, Mayor Smith said he could only recall a couple of split board decisions nor any issues of great controversy.

“We will respond to citizens concerns if they come forward,” Mayor Smith said.

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