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Spokane City Council candidate Tyler LeMasters removed from general election ballot

Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton said Tyler LeMasters can appeal the judge's decision. He has not responded to a request for comment.
Credit: Tyler LeMasters

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane City Council candidate Tyler LeMasters' name has been removed from the 2021 general election ballot because he has not lived in the city long enough to meet the residency requirement, a Spokane County Superior Court judge ruled on Wednesday. 

Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton confirmed the decision to KREM and added that LeMasters can appeal the judge's decision.

LeMasters is running for the District 2 city council position. The petition of removal was filed by two registered Spokane voters, Paul Dillion and Mary Winkes, who claim that LeMasters has physically lived in the City of Spokane for less than a year before he filed to be on the ballot. Dillon is the Vice President of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho.

"We are thrilled with the court’s decision that affirmed Tyler LeMasters did not meet the residency requirement which was put into place to make sure candidates with the necessary experience can best serve the district they represent," Dillon wrote in a statement to KREM on Wednesday.

The plaintiffs pointed to 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.”  

LeMasters filed as a council member candidate on May 18, 2021 meaning he needed to live in Spokane full time since May 18, 2020. However, the court records acquired by KREM 2 News claim LeMasters was living in Alexandria, Virginia at some point before May 2021. 

LeMasters was working at a job in Washington D.C. until Nov. 3, 2020, he moved to District 2 after that time. The petition says that the earliest LeMasters could have lived at his Spokane address is January 2021, which is only four months before the May filing date. 

Dalton was also cited in this petition of removal because she approved LeMasters for the ballot. However, Dalton spoke with KREM 2 and said she does not verify how long a candidate has lived at an address, only that they are a registered voter in the county. She does not enforce city charters.  

A week after the decision, Lemasters sent the following statement:

"Elections shouldn't be decided in courtrooms but by the voters. We are very disappointed in judge Plese's ruling. Spokane has been my home since 2005 and the five months I was out of town in question was when I was working in the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. That job handled small business, and non-profit legislation for all Eastern Washington during the hardest part of the economic shutdowns. This should clearly be viewed as a Civil Service exemption under the city charter rules. I could appeal but this would end up costing me over $15,000 in legal fees. Regardless the tragedy isn't for me but for the voters who will have no opportunity to choose their representatives, again. I am so thankful for everyone's support and now I'm looking forward to spending time with our first baby due in October and getting back to my real estate career. I will always be here to serve Spokane in whatever way it calls me."