Case closed on Richfield election complaint

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SHOSHONE, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — A judge dismissed two Richfield resident’s complaint after being denied to vote in November’s election.

"There's nothing that can be done, the election stands as it is as of November," said Brenda Farnworth, the Lincoln County election clerk.

One of the city council seats was decided by one vote. Four people were turned away for a difference in Lincoln County's records of Richfield city limits.

The county says those people should have been allowed to vote. Two of them filed to contest the election.

According to court documents, the complaint was dismissed because it wasn’t filed with the courts within the required 20 days after votes were canvassed. Lincoln County Commissioners canvases, or approved, the votes from the Nov. 7 election on Nov. 13.

According to court documents, the defendants filed a written complaint letter with the Lincoln County prosecutor’s office on Nov. 20. According to a probable cause affidavit dated Dec. 6, Prosecuting Attorney E. Scott Paul believed he had 30 days to file the challenge.

The county prosecutor does not need to file the complaint. Farnworth said Paul was trying to help the two people who were turned away. However, she said he gave them the correct council.

"They got some bad council and filed it wrong," Farnworth said. "They filed it timely the first time, but they didn't file it in the right papers. and they filed the second time and it was after the deadline."

Court documents show Paul trying to keep the appeal valid.

“The Kents followed through on their obligations as directed in Exhibit A in that they supplied the information to your affiant for preparation of the necessary documents,” Scott said in the affidavit. “I believe the Kents should not be deprived of their ability to contest the election due to the erroneous advice provided in Exhibit A and your affiant’s error regarding the filing date.”

Exhibit A was a letter given to the Kents that they had 20 days to file a complaint with the prosecutors office, deadline being 5 p.m. on Dec. 4.

In a letter from the court clerk also apologized to the Kents, saying the county talked with the Richfield mayor and received an updated map, showing the Kents were within the city limits and should have been able to vote. The letter outlined means of contesting the election.

Farnworth said the issue with the map discrepancy has existed since the county started running Richfield's election in 2011. She also said one of the people who filed the complaint knew about it going into this election year.

"Mr. Kent knew he was not listed in our county database, he told me that he tried to vote in the city election in 2015 and wasn't allowed to and he said he should've done something about it then" she said.

Farnworth said the issue with the map discrepancy has been fixed for future elections. She said there is nothing that can be done about this election now.

KMVT reached out to the Kents, Paul, and the two city councilors who won the election. They were not available for comment on Wednesday.

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