Millard County Election Fight Boiling Over In Two Courts

Published on August 28, 2014 at 12:23PM

Credit: The Salt Lake Tribune

A challenger in a disputed Millard County Commission race has asked a judge to hold the county clerk in contempt of court for not abiding by the judge’s order that the county hold a new Republican primary election. Fourth District Judge Claudia Laycock ordered the county earlier this month to re-do the GOP primary election after seven improperly counted ballots and a voter turned away from the poling place cast doubt on incumbent Jim Withers’ five-vote win over challenger Jim Dyer. The Attorney General’s Office, on behalf of the Lieutenant Governor’s office, which manages state elections, filed an appeal to the Utah Supreme Court on Tuesday. That appeal challenges Laycock’s authority to overturn the election and demand a do-over, and asks the high court to declare Withers the victor.

An attorney for Dyer, in the meantime, asked Laycock in a filing Tuesday to hold the Millard County Clerk in contempt for failing to take steps to comply with the judge’s order and proceed with the repeat election. Dyer’s Lawyers told The Salt Lake Tribune that “Because time is of the essence, the Court should require and compel the Millard County Clerk to schedule, organize and hold the new election as ordered.”

However, state attorneys contend in their filing with the Supreme court that Laycock overstepped her legal authority in ordering the new election. Laycock has until Sept. 3 to respond to the state’s motion, if she chooses to respond. Other parties, including attorneys for Dyer, are expected to seek permission to submit filings in the case, as well.