BOISE - The Idaho Supreme Court has reversed a Kootenai County judge who held that two candidates who were elected mayor and city councilor in the tiny town of Huetter in 2007 were disqualified from office because of challenges to their voter registration.
Both candidates, mayor-elect Bradley Keene and councilor-elect Jennifer Brown, subsequently re-registered. But because of challenges to their registration status that they didn’t answer on time - which came from other officials including the previous mayor - their registration was canceled on Jan. 18, 2008, and not restored until they re-registered on Feb. 25, 2008.
1st District Judge Lansing Haynes held that they’d lost their offices, but the Idaho Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned that ruling - which means the two are back in.
In a unanimous opinion written by Chief Justice Dan Eismann, the court held, “The temporary failure of Keene and Brown to remain qualified electors did not constitute an abandonment of their offices. They had reregistered as voters prior to this action being commenced. The record fails to disclose any basis for declaring vacancies in their offices.”
Susan Weeks, attorney for the two, said, “This reinstates them to office. Mr. Keene is actually on the City Council now. … I know he avidly wants to continue to be a public servant.”
Keene and Brown were among a group of 20-somethings who attempted a takeover of the tiny city of 100 between Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene; in the 2007 election in which Keene ousted longtime mayor Jackie Meeks, just 32 people voted.