Lawsuit questions Spokane City Council candidate’s residency

Tyler LeMasters

SPOKANE, Wash. — A petition filed by two registered voters calls for Spokane City Council candidate Tyler LeMasters to be removed from the 2021 general election ballot.

The lawsuit, filed by Paul Dillion and Mary Winkes, claims LeMasters has not lived in the city long enough to meet the residency requirement. The petition says LeMasters hadn’t lived in Spokane for a year when he filed to run for a District 2 city council position.

The plaintiffs point out that doesn’t meet the requirement outlined in the Spokane City Charter, Article II, section 6(A). That says, “A person must be a qualified voter of the City of Spokane and have been a resident of the city, and of the appropriate council district, for the one year immediately preceding the time of filing as a candidate for . . . council member.”

Spokane City Charter, Article II, Section 5(B) defines “residency” as “a person’s permanent address where he or she physically resides and maintains his or her abode.”

LeMasters filed as a council member candidate on May 18, 2021. That means he would have had to lived in District 2 in May 2020 to meet the residency requirement.

But the petition filed against him says that is not the case. The lawsuit says LeMasters lived in Alexandria, Virginia, not Spokane on and after May 18, 2020.

Even though LeMasters currently lives at a Spokane address in District 2, the lawsuit says the earliest he could have moved there was January 2021. The petition claims property records show the LeMasters family bought their current Spokane home on January 12, 2021. That would mean he would have only lived there for four months before filing to run for city council.

The lawsuit also cited Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton, saying she approved LeMasters to be on the ballot.

Dalton says it’s not the responsibility of her office to check and see how long candidates have lived at the address they’re filing under. She says that falls on registered voters in the district. Her job, she says, is to see if the candidates are registered to vote in the county.

Dalton says the courts have until Sept. 2 to decide if LeMasters should be removed from the general election ballot. LeMasters does have time to respond to the lawsuit and explain why he should be able to stay on the ballot.

4 News Now has reached out to the LeMasters’ campaign and has not heard back. This story will be updated once we do. 

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