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Challenge against candidate Roskelley dismissed

UPDATED: Wed., June 6, 2012

A challenge of the legality of Democrat John Roskelley’s voter registration was dismissed on Wednesday, allowing him to appear on the primary election ballot in a District 1 county commissioner race against Republican incumbent Todd Mielke. Spokane County GOP Chairman Matthew Pederson brought the voter registration challenge, contending that Roskelley was not living at undeveloped property he owns in District 1. That made him ineligible as a district voter to file for the commissioner office and appear on the ballot, Pederson argued in the case. Roskelley moved a motor home to the site on East Heron Lane last Sunday after living temporarily with his son in North Spokane. The son’s residence is outside of District 1. But Roskelley had registered to vote at the East Heron location earlier this year and filed for office on May 16 while making plans to build a home at the property. Visiting Chelan County Auditor Skip Moore ruled that Roskelley had established a residence there as of Wednesday’s hearing, and dismissed the challenge. He said that Roskelley’s temporary living arrangement with his son was not an issue; only present and future residency were considered. The ruling comes after visiting Superior Court Judge Allen C. Nielson dismissed a companion challenge by Mielke and Jeff Baxter seeking to bar Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton from placing Roskelley’s name on the ballot. Nielson ruled last week that he would bar Roskelley’s candidacy only if Pederson prevailed in his challenge against Roskelley’s voter registration. Pederson said he would ask Nielson to reconsider his decision, and that an appeal is possible. On Wednesday, Pederson introduced photos showing the vacant property. But Roskelley countered with photos showing the motor home and he and his wife taken earlier Wednesday. “I have to say Mr. Pederson you were trespassing when you took those photos,” Roskelley said during the hearing. Mielke said after the hearing that the photos were taken from an adjacent county-owned conservation parcel. Roskelley also criticized the GOP and Mielke after Pederson testified that Roskelley’s red pickup had been witnessed parked earlier this year at his son’s home at different hours of the day and night. Roskelley said that kind of sleuthing “reflects badly on the Republican Party and my opponent.” Mielke said the son’s home is next to an arterial and on his way to and from downtown. Roskelley said hiring an attorney to defend himself could total $10,000 or more in personal costs.
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