morning, something happened in the La Paz County Superior Court that
few expected. Mayor Elect Jose' Lizarraga was determined to be
"unqualified" if he failed to obtain and file a bond prior to taking
office, as required by Quartzsite Town Code.This was only one of several
allegations made against him by third place mayoral candidate Jennifer Jones, who contested Lizarraga's eligibility for office.
had not filed the required response to the contest of the August 30th
mayoral election, and did not show up to court today. Contestant Jones
motioned for a default judgment, but Judge Michael Burke stated the law
allowed for the hearing to proceed "ex parte".
one was present to legally represent the interests of the town, after
Judge Burke had granted them intervention for relief, in the event that
Lizarraga was found ineligible under the law. However, Jones argued
arguments listed in the town’s motion to intervene were based on false
premise. First, election contests were not known at common law and
therefore they are purely statutory and are special proceedings, not
actions at law or suits in equity. Harless v. Lockwood, 85 Ariz. 97, 32 P.2d 887 (1958); Brown v. Superior Court in and for Santa Cruz County, 81 Ariz. 236, 303 P.2d 990 (1956).
means the procedure is strictly in accordance with ARS §16-671 through
16-678. Nowhere in these statutes is there a right of intervention and
the parties are limited to contestor and contestee under ARS §16-673,
16-674.B, and 16-675. The Town of Quartzsite is not a party under these statutes."
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