by Jack Minor –
A Republican candidate for the upcoming District 6 school board election has withdrawn from the race following revelations that signatures gathered to place her name on the ballot were gathered improperly.
The Gazette first reported that Jean Daviet, who was running for one of the two-year positions on the board, may have violated Colorado election law when signatures were gathered at a Republican breakfast.
In announcing her decision to withdraw, Daviet said she did not intentionally violate election laws when she asked a friend to pass the petition around at a local Republican breakfast.
Colorado election law requires that each person collecting signatures must sign an affidavit that they have personally observed every eligible voter signing the petition. Several witnesses, including Jim Eckersly, leader of the breakfast, have confirmed Daviet was not present at the meeting when her petition was signed.
Daviet acknowledged her mistake, saying it was not intentional.
Daviet made the decision to voluntarily withdraw from the election because she wanted to do what is right. “I have two granddaughters attending school in the district and I wanted to show them it is important to take responsibility when you make a mistake.”
Weld County Elections Clerk, Steve Moreno, said his office simply oversees the election itself and has no authority to question a candidate’s eligibility. “Any issues regarding eligibility would need to be handled by the district,” Moreno said.
When the question regarding Daviet’s ineligibility was first brought to the district’s attention, Bernadine Berea, Executive Assistant to Superintendent Ranelle Lang, said even if Daviet had collected the signatures illegally, the district would not investigate the issue until one of the candidates challenged it.
Prior to Daviet’s withdrawal, the two Democratic candidates, Tannis Bator and Valerie-Leal Whitehead, said they were not concerned about the infraction.
Bator told the Gazette she was not going to pursue the issue because she feels that, while Daviet may have broken the law in gathering signatures, it was not intentional. “I think that it may not have been malicious, it’s possible that she simply didn’t read all the materials before collecting signatures.”
Whitehead echoed similar sentiments, saying that while the rules are what they are, it was probably a simple mistake. “You have to follow the rules, but I am not going to question her candidacy at this time for this type of infraction.” Whitehead continued, “It would be nice to know that everyone thoroughly read the packet and knew how they needed to proceed. I’m just happy we have a lot of candidates running. In the grand scheme of things I am not going to fuss about it.”
Whitehead went on to say, that, while she would not pursue an eligibility challenge against any candidate over signature gathering, she might do so over other issues. “I might pursue it over a money issue or something bigger than this, but not over signature gathering.”
Daviet said she didn’t want the questions about her eligibility to become a distraction from the real issues facing the district. She went on to acknowledge that if she did win, opponents could then challenge the election based on the signature issue.
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