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Sat, June 15

Judge hears challenge to supervisor's signatures

Georgene Lockwood

Georgene Lockwood

PRESCOTT - Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Swan heard prospective sides in District 1 Supervisor challenger Georgene Lockwood's lawsuit challenging the validity of some of incumbent Carol Springer's signatures on her nominating petitions Tuesday.

After three hours of arguments, Swan said he would announce his decision later today.

Springer needed 461 signatures to qualify for the November election. She turned in 605.

Lockwood's lawsuit claims 49 signatures were invalid on technical errors and four entire petitions and their signatures were invalid because Springer did not verify the signatures as Arizona Revised Statutes required.

If the judge throws out the signatures, Springer would be out of the election unless she wins an appeal. If the judge rules in favor of Springer, the race continues with voters deciding in November who they want for District 1 Supervisor.

Karen McCracken, Registrar of Voters, testified that she rejected about 30 of the 49 challenged signatures.

Lockwood's Attorney Gil Shaw withdrew his challenge to the signatures but pursued his allegations that Springer committed petition fraud by not being present during signature collection and not properly verifying the petition sheets.

Shaw's fraud claim stems from a homeshow event May 16 and 17 at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley. Numerous candidates running for various offices had their petitions spread out on a table for the public to read and/or sign.

Shaw alleged that Springer was either not at the show, or was not at the petition table when she said she was.

Swan ruled that he could find no evidence proving that Springer was not at the show. The burden of proof is on Lockwood as the plaintiff.

Springer testified that the signatures on her petitions were collected under observation and in the appropriate manner. Lockwood did not testify in the hearing.

The acoustics in the courtroom made it difficult at times for the judge and attorneys to understand each other, and courtroom spectators at times craned their necks to hear what was being said. At one point, Swan evoked laughter when he asked Shaw if he was arguing that Springer should be on the ballot.

Before the judge ended the proceedings, Jeff Adams, Springer's attorney, said that it is "a shame that someone would come in here and assassinate the character" of Springer.

Shaw maintained his claim that Springer committed petition fraud.

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