Payson's Mike Hull began this political campaign season by asking folks to elect him as Gila County's next sheriff.
Then he changed his mind and opted to run against incumbent Ron Christensen for the seat of District 1 County Supervisor.
But now, because of that mid-stream switch, Hull has been booted off the county's November election ballot entirely, according to Gila County Elections Director Dixie Mundy.
"The county attorney issued a legal opinion stating that Mr. Hull's nomination petitions had been altered as far as the name of the office and the district ... and that certain names had been collected before the change had been made to the petitions," Mundy said.
The nomination petitions are signature sheets which candidates circulate to gain a nomination by their party. Candidates who file at least the minimum and no more than the maximum of signatures qualify to have their names appear on the primary ballot which means it would also be listed on the sample ballot and the pages of the voting-device ballots on election day.
It is Mundy's understanding that Hull had originally gathered signatures as a candidate for Gila County Sheriff, but turned in those signatures in addition to new ones after he began to petition himself as a candidate for Gila County Supervisor.
The newer nomination petitions had been unofficially altered, apparently by Hull, to reflect his change of desired post.
"The legal opinion advised me, as the filing officer, to not accept Mr. Hull's petitions as filed," Mundy said. "And upon the determination by the county attorney, Mr. Hull's name should not be placed on the ballot because he did not have enough signatures (to qualify for the ballot) after he changed the text of his petition."
Mundy said she assumed Hull could "challenge the legal opinion, but that would have to be taken up in court."
Hull, the owner of Pest Police Pest Control in Payson, declined comment Monday, saying that his attorneys were looking into the matter.
"It's uncommon for petitions to be challenged in Gila County," said Mundy, who has worked in the elections office since 1983 and has been its director since 1995. "It happens once in a while. But this is the first time I've seen this particular circumstance."