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Monday, February 24, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Residency challenge set for hearing

Incumbent, voter say Roskelley is ineligible

A hearing is set for Wednesday on a lawsuit challenging the residency of Spokane County Commission candidate John Roskelley.

Roskelley, a Democrat, is seeking to return to his old commission seat by defeating incumbent Republican Commissioner Todd Mielke in District 1.

Mielke and fellow Republican and district voter Jeff Baxter filed the lawsuit on Tuesday seeking an injunction to prevent the county auditor from placing Roskelley’s name on the ballot.

Roskelley in 2011 registered as a voter on undeveloped property he owns at 10121 E. Heron Lane, but he said he is going to build a new home there.

In the suit, Mielke and Baxter contend that Roskelley was not residing there when he filed for office so he should be declared ineligible.

Roskelley and his wife had sold a home and farm in District 1 and have planned to build on the East Heron property. They moved temporarily into their son’s home in Spokane, which is outside the commission district.

Auditor Vicky Dalton, the defendant in the case, said previous court rulings on similar challenges found that a candidate’s intention to live on property within the district has been found sufficient to qualify for the ballot.

She said at least four cases in Spokane County have upheld the intent of the candidate, but in one case a candidate was disqualified.

Dalton will be represented by the civil division of the Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

She said a visiting judge is expected to hear the case.

Evidence likely will include the previous cases in Spokane as well as other cases across the state, she said.

Roskelley earlier said he checked with Dalton on using the East Heron address and was told it would be OK.

He has lived in the district for 27 years, including eight in which he served as commissioner prior to Mielke taking the seat.

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