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Demo back on ballot

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Another candidate has utilized the judicial loophole in the finance disclosure laws.

Edward Lalone, a Democrat challenging Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, in House District 60, was reinstated to the ballot Monday afternoon after being disqualified for missing the Oct. 31 deadline for filing his financial disclosure. Although the deadline was 5 p.m., he thought that he had until the end of the day and did not attempt to file until 7 p.m.

Lalone is the sixth candidate who was placed back on the ballot by a judge after missing the filing deadline, and the third legislative candidate. He is also the third one who missed the Oct. 31 deadline but successfully appealed to the courts.

In issuing the temporary restraining order that allowed Lalone to stay in the race, 3rd District Court Judge Timothy Hanson said because Lalone attempted to file the day the disclosures were due — he actually was not able to file until the following day, when he faxed his report — that he "substantially complied" with the law.

Additionally, because his name could not be removed from the preprogrammed electronic ballots, leaving Lalone on the ballot would not create any more work or cost, Hanson said. For disqualified candidates, voters are simply notified with a sign at the polling place that any votes for that person will not be counted.

"The people who are going to cast their ballots should have as much of a choice as possible," Hanson said while making his ruling. "There is no harm in letting him stay on the ballot."

Last week, Republican legislative candidates Jonathan Storrs and Robert Miles were both placed back on the ballot after taking their disqualifications to court. Both said they experienced technical problems while trying to file their disclosures on the state elections Web site.

In September, the disqualification of three state school board candidates was also overturned. Those candidates also claimed technical difficulties with the Web site.

In all of the cases, the state elections office, which is managed by Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert, has put up a minimal fight in court. Typically, they point out that the Legislature has placed the discretion for eliminating candidates in the hands of judges to remove any charges of partisanship by the executive branch.

E-mail: jloftin@desnews.com