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Ivory going on ballots

But legal challenges by Demos loom over Workman 'disability'

Ellis Ivory
Ellis Ivory

Ivory's the guy for the Republicans.

By an overwhelming margin, the Salt Lake County GOP Central Committee voted Tuesday to put write-in county mayoral candidate Ellis Ivory on next week's ballot as the party's official candidate.

Chairwoman Tiani Coleman is expected this morning to deliver a letter to County Clerk Sherrie Swensen officially certifying Ivory as the Republican candidate.

"I just want to say thank you, and I promise you that in the next four years I will run an honest, hardworking administration," Ivory told the crowd of several hundred committee members who filled the County Council chambers significantly past overflowing.

Coleman tried twice before to certify Ivory as the party's official candidate, but Swensen refused until the Central Committee voted to do so.

Swensen's chief deputy, Jason Yocom, said Tuesday that as soon as the clerk's office receives the official paperwork it will begin the process of putting Ivory's name on the ballot.

"We haven't determined when exactly we'll notify the judges (the election judges at each precinct, who will put stickers on the ballot booklets with Ivory's name in the Republican slot), but the absentee ballots we'll process tomorrow," he said Tuesday.

In accordance with a new state law, the clerk's office contains several "absentee" voting booths where voters can cast their ballots before Nov. 2.

Legal complications loom. State and county Democratic Party leaders have vowed to mount a court challenge to Ivory's certification, saying former GOP candidate Nancy Workman is not disabled — a legal prerequisite to replacing her on the ballot.

"We're still talking" about when to file suit, county Democratic Party chairwoman Nichole Adams said Tuesday.

Democratic mayoral candidate Peter Corroon is not in favor of suing, but he said Ivory's certification is "at best unethical and at worst illegal. The whole reason the administration got into trouble was disregard for proper policies and procedures, and here we see it again in the campaign."

Independent Merrill Cook, who unsuccessfully sought GOP support in a meeting earlier this month, also opposes Ivory's certification.

While the vote Tuesday was heavily in Ivory's favor, it was not unanimous. A group of 54 Central Committee members — led by Mike Ridgway, a Cook supporter — wanted to keep Ivory off the ballot because of "the uncertainty surrounding Mayor Workman's assertion of disability," according to a proposed resolution.

Ridgway's attempted opposition at the meeting, however, was cut short. After Coleman's recitation of what has happened so far in this decidedly unusual campaign, and a motion to certify Ivory, several members quickly called the question (a call to end discussion), the committee ratified the call and the vote was taken. The meeting was over in half an hour.

"Was that ramrodding it through?" state GOP chairman Joe Cannon said. "No. The body was overwhelmingly in support of this action."

Ivory, who has spent almost $350,000 telling voters to write him in, said he will now have to educate them to punch the ballot instead. Any write-in votes for Ivory on a ballot that has his name on it will not count.

"We will be starting tomorrow to put some materials out," he said. "We hope to make the conversion."

Watch a conversation with Senate candidates Bob Bennett and Paul Van Dam, moderated by Bruce Lindsay, today at 6:30 p.m. on KSL-TV.