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Judge allows Lopez to remain on CRUHSD ballot

September 1, 2018

KINGMAN — A Superior Court judge denied a petition Thursday to remove a candidate from running on the board of the Colorado River Union High School District.

Royanne Ortiz, who is also a candidate, filed a civil complaint against Carlos Lopez and Mohave County, claiming that 154 of the 302 signatures Lopez submitted were invalid. That would have left Lopez with 148 signatures, shy of the 178 required signatures needed to be on the November ballot.

Ortiz, of Bullhead City, again cited state law Thursday that states that the address on the petition should match the address on the voter registration rolls, initially nullifying the 154 signatures on Lopez’s petition.

Mohave County Recorder Kristi Blair previously testified that her office checked the names and addresses of the 154 signatures in question and determined that 102 were invalid and 52 were valid.

Blair had said that 15 county recorders use an election procedure manual from the Arizona Secretary of State. The criteria for a valid signature is that the person is a registered voter, lives within the district and their signatures match.

At a previous hearing, Superior Court Judge Lee Jantzen gave Ortiz time to review the 52 remaining signatures that Blair’s office validated.

Ortiz told the judge Thursday that of the 52 signatures still in question, she validated 17 but still challenged 35 signatures that would still leave Lopez with 165 valid signatures, 13 short of the 178 required signatures.

Jantzen denied Ortiz’s challenge and ruled in favor of Lopez, deciding that he had enough valid signatures to be on the ballot. The judge ruled that, based on case law, a person who lives in the district should be able to sign a petition for a candidate running in that district.

Lopez and Ortiz are among eight candidates running for three seats on the CRUHSD governing board for the Colorado River Union High School District. The district includes River Valley High School, in Mohave Valley, and Mohave High School, in Bullhead City.

The general election will be held Nov. 6.

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