Candidate Challenges Election Outcome

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Dan Haapala filed a complaint Tuesday in Maricopa County Superior Court challenging the results of the Gila County Dist. 1 Supervisor's primary race.

The law allows a protest to be filed in superior court within five days of the canvass of votes, according to Dixie Mundy, director of elections for the county. The board of supervisors did the canvass and accepted the results of the election at its Sept. 14 meeting.

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Dan Haapala

"My decision to contest the election was based on three allegations that came to my attention through you the voters and include: that my opponent, Tommie Martin, was not a qualified elector of District One and therefore ineligible for the office; that several irregularities in early voting and mail-in voting ballots occurred, denying voters their right to vote for the candidate of their choice; and that the current supervisor of District One, Ron Christensen, improperly used the power and resources of his office to influence the outcome of the election," Haapala said in a written statement about his reasons for contesting the election.

Asked to clarify what made Martin not a qualified elector, Haapala told the Roundup, " My attorney said not to go into details."

He said the citation is based on several state statutes. These address eligibility to seek public office. Among these qualifications are age and residency in the state and being an elector in the county or precinct to be served by the office for a specific period of time.

"My attorney is convinced we can make a stand," he said. "We're serving Tommie Martin, Dixie Mundy, Linda Haught Ortega and the board of supervisors today (Thursday)."

When contacted by the Roundup, none of the county officials had yet been served.

"I choose not to comment until I'm actually served," Christensen said. "Until we see something in writing, we're just speculating."

Mundy said she could not comment until she saw the documents and Haught-Ortega said any comment would have to be made by County Attorney Daisy Flores. Martin could not be reached at press time.

Haapala is being represented by Ellen VanRiper with the firm of Martinez and Curtis, P.C. of Phoenix.

In his written statement, he said, "After all the evidence has been presented, I will accept the decision of the court in this matter."

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