Spokane City Council candidate Tyler LeMasters ineligible for November ballot

Tyler LeMasters

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane City Council candidate Tyler LeMasters will not be listed on the November general election ballot. 

A judge ruled Wednesday that he did not meet the city residency requirement needed to run for office. 

The judge agreed with a complaint filed by Paul Dillon and Mary Winkes, which stated LeMasters had not lived in the city long enough to run. 

The Spokane City Charters states “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.” 

The charter defines “residency” as “a person’s permanent address where he or she physically resides and maintains his or her abode.” 

LeMasters filed to run on May 18, 2021, which means he would have had to be living in District 2 since May 2020. The petition shows that LeMasters lived in Virginia, not Spokane on and after May 18, 2020. 

Public records also show LeMasters’ family bought their current home in District 2 on January 12, 2021. That means he had only lived in the district for four months before filing to run. 

The lawsuit also cited Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton, saying she approved LeMasters to be on the ballot. She previously said her job is to ensure a candidate is registered to vote in the county, not to check how long they’ve lived at the address they’re filing under. 

Judge Annette Plese on Wednesday ordered Dalton not to print LeMaster’s name on the County’s 2021 general election ballots.

In a phone call with 4 News Now, Dalton confirmed LeMasters’ name will be struck from the ballot. Betsy Wilkerson, who is seeking reelection for the role, will be the only name listed. 

This does leave the option for a write-in vote. Dalton said if LeMasters were to get more write-in votes than Wilkerson, there would be another legal challenge since he has been deemed unqualified to take office. 

Dalton also noted that there is an expectation that LeMasters’ lawyer is considering appealing. 

4 News Now reached out to LeMasters regarding the situation, but he declined to release a written statement. 

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