Thursday, October 30, 2014

Election Complaint Filed Against Fort Wayne House Candidate

The Fort Wayne Democratic House candidate accused of residing in Michigan instead of the district in which he is seeking to represent must now defend against a formal complaint filed against him with the Allen Co. Board of Elections. Fort Wayne resident Paul Ensley filed a complaint alleging that District 84 candidate Fred Haigh resides in a home he and his wife own in Quincy, Michigan, not the home at which he's registered to vote in Fort Wayne. Ensley also accused Haigh of failing to include a disclaimer stating who paid for the advertising on some of his signs.

Haigh conceded to the Journal-Gazette that he no longer resides at a home he rented within the district after the home's owner turned down an offer he made to purchase the home. He insists, however, that he has legally resided in Fort Wayne since 1968. Yet he has claimed a homestead exemption since 2008 on his home in Michigan, which he could only claim if that is his principal residence. Haigh says he and his wife started claiming the exemption on the home after they sold their Fort Wayne home and began renting a home. "My wife established her residency in Michigan and holds a Michigan driver’s license," he told the Journal-Gazette. "The Michigan house was supposed to be sold and the closing was scheduled for late August, but the deal fell through, he said." He concedes that he's been traveling back and forth from Michigan since he stopped renting the home in Fort Wayne.

The director of the Allen Co. Election Board, Beth Dlug, told the Journal-Gazette that Ensley's complaint should have been filed with the state's Election Division since Haigh is a state candidate. That's not entirely accurate. The local election board has jurisdiction to determine whether Haigh is legally registered to vote in Fort Wayne. The state's election division has jurisdiction to determine whether Haigh legally resides within District 84. Ensley told the Journal-Gazette he plans to file his complaint with the state's Election Division as well. Haigh conceded that some of his signs lacked the proper disclaimer as alleged in Ensley's complaint. He says he has taken down the signs and replaced them with signs containing the proper disclaimer.

1 comment:

gt said...

The disclaimer statute is unconstitutional and void for the reasons outlined in Stewart v Taylor (1997), Ogden v Marendt, Mulholland v Election Board,and Talley v California (1960).