Pritt to challenge Halter -- UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Pritt to challenge Halter -- UPDATE

Posted By on Tue, Apr 18, 2006 at 1:52 PM

Drew Pritt, who mounted a campaign for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor but never ultimately filed as an official candidate, today announced he is challenging Bill Halter's eligibility to run for that position, citing residency requirements.

"Bill Halter can say he has resided in Arkansas but his business & professional activities show that Mr. Halter has been in California and Washington, D.C.," said Pritt. "Pursuant to Rule 21 of the Official Rules of the Arkansas Democratic Party and in the qualifications set down by the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office concerning eligibility for office, I am hereby challenging the right for Bill Halter to seek the Lieutenant Governor’s office because he has not been a resident of the State of Arkansas. I further ask that he be removed from the May 23rd Democratic Preferential Primary Ballot as soon as possible."

One week ago, some rumors circulated about a challenge to Halter's candidacy on the same grounds, so we checked with Bart Haynie, the state Democratic Party spokesman.

"According to our preliminary interpretation of party rules, it appears that any grievance filed at this point will be too late," Haynie e-mailed us on Apr. 11. "A grievance with Halter’s residence should have been in our office within 10 days of his filing – March 21 – since that’s the day his candidacy became official with the party and the state, and that’s the day the alleged act or omission would have occurred."

However, Pritt's press release says, "As prescribed by Rule 21, since the ballot was certified on April 14th, I am filing this grievance from that official date in the ten day time period."

UPDATE: Halter's spokesman, Bud Jackson, responded with two words: "Not true."

UPDATE II: What we said. Democratic Party has rejected Pritt's complaint on account of timeliness.

The full press release from Pritt is after the jump.

PRESS RELEASE FROM DREW PRITT

Drew Pritt, Democrat, who withdrew officially from the race for Lt. Governor on April 4th is filing a formal protest with the Arkansas Democratic Party asking that Bill Halter's name be withdrawn from the May 23rd Preferential Primary Ballot.

"Bill Halter can say he has resided in Arkansas but his business & professional activities show that Mr. Halter has been in California and Washington, D.C.," said Pritt. "Pursuant to Rule 21 of the Official Rules of the Arkansas Democratic Party and in the qualifications set down by the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office concerning eligibility for office, I am hereby challenging the right for Bill Halter to seek the Lieutenant Governor’s office because he has not been a resident of the State of Arkansas. I further ask that he be removed from the May 23rd Democratic Preferential Primary Ballot as soon as possible."

Pritt is filing his protest with Chairman Jason Willett and the Arkansas Democratic Party primary this afternoon.

"As prescribed by Rule 21, since the ballot was certified on April 14th, I am filing this grievance from that official date in the ten day time period,"

DETERMINATION OF ELIGIBILITY

According to the Arkansas State Constitution, a candidate for Governor and Lieutenant Governor

[Arkansas Constitution, Article 6, as amended by Amendment 6, §§1 and 5; Amendment 63, §1]

Must be an Arkansas resident for seven (7) years Article 6, §5

According to Websters, the definition of a resident is as follows : One who resides in a particular place permanently or for an extended period.

PRECEDENT

• There is the case of Valley v. Bogard, 342 Ark. 336, 28 S.W.3d
269
(2000), to support this argument.  Valley involved a pre-primary eligibility challenge brought by Arnell Willis, a candidate for State Representative, District 99, in the Democratic primary, against J.F. Valley, another Democratic candidate for the same office. Willis argued that Valley was not eligible for the office because he had not resided in District 99 for a year prior to the election. The trial court agreed with Willis and entered an order finding that Valley did not meet the residency qualifications.

• Section 7-5-207(b) provides a means for a voter to raise a
pre-election
attack on a candidate's eligibility to stand for election and for removal of that ineligible candidate's name from the ballot.  (See Helton v. Jacobs, 346 Ark. 344, 57 S.W.3d 180 (2001); Tittle v. Woodruff, 322 Ark. 153, 907 S.W.2d 734 (1995); State v. Craighead County Bd. of Election Comm'rs, 300 Ark. 405, 779 S.W.2d 169 (1989).) "That statute created a right in the people to the proper administration of election laws by prohibiting the inclusion of ineligible candidates on the ballot.

• Hunter Bates, a candidate for Lt. Governor in Kentucky in 2003,
was
removed from the primary ballot because he did not meet residency requirements set forth by the Kentucky Constitution. Though the ballots had been printed, the Judge ruled that new ballots be printed or Bates named blotted out.

Oldham Circuit Judge Paul Rosenblum said that even though Bates maintained the right to vote in his native Whitley County and owns property there, he lost his residency status because he was out of state too long.

http://www.courier-journal.com/localnews/2003/03/27/ke032703s387817.htm


• Robbyn Tumey of Arkansas, in 2002 did raise a similar challenge
about
the validity and residency of her challenger, Timothy Hutchinson III, in a bid for State House. Her case was not heard on the merits, but merely the fact it was not properly filed, according to Judge Tim Fox.

        http://www.tumey.com/story6.htm

RESIDENCY CHALLENGE

• According to a letter from the Dean at Stanford University, on
January
20, 2003, Mr. Halter is listed as a resident of Washington, D.C., not Arkansas.

Mr. William A. Halter
Stanford University, Board of Trustees
Washington, D.C.

http://deansnewsletter.stanford.edu/archive/01_20_03.html

• Furthermore, according to Halter’s official biography with the
Social
Security Administration, he lists himself as a native, but not a resident of North Little Rock, Arkansas.

http://www.ssa.gov/history/halter.html

•  According to various press releases within the last seven years
time
frame, found on the internet detail Mr. Halter’s activities at Threshold Pharmaceuticals in Redwood City, California, Stanford University in California, the Social Security Administration in Washington, D.C., Akami Technologies in Massachusetts.

• Although Mr. Halter may have owned land in Arkansas and
registered to
vote here, he did not maintain a constant residence. Furthermore, his involvement in business and social means were in other states, not in Arkansas. Therefore, he has not resided in Arkansas the proper amount of time to be a legitimate candidate for Lt. Governor in Arkansas.

• Pritt says he also understands that Halter attempted to claim
the
Homestead Exemption Act on his taxes when residing in Washington, D.C. Pritt says this is indicative of the fact that Halter saw himself as a resident in D.C., not Arkansas.

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