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Draper City Council candidate disqualified for filing documents one minute late

Posted at 6:40 PM, Aug 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-13 20:40:00-04

DRAPER, Utah — A candidate for Draper City Council says he was disqualified from Tuesday’s primary election because he tried to submit documents at city hall one minute late.

Sample ballots hanging at polling stations in Draper show candidate Hubert Huh with a big red strike through his name and the word “DISQUALIFIED” in big, red letters.

“I’m the only non-caucasian running for city council in Draper,” Huh said. “I’m thinking of all those voters, you know, those nice citizens of Draper who supported me.”

Huh is a Korean-American veteran of the U.S. Army who now works for the Utah Transportation Authority as a TRAX operator. He said he was confused because of a mistake made by the city recorder in giving him the wrong deadline to file his financial disclosure forms.

On July 19, the city recorder accidentally sent a letter to all candidates informing them that the deadline to file was August 8, when in reality the deadline was August 6.

That same day, the city recorder corrected her mistake, Mayor Troy Walker said.

“She mailed a new letter to all the candidates and then sent a confirming email, which all of them responded to, including Hubert,” Walker explained. “He said, ‘Thank you.’ He got the email.”

Huh said he did not realize he was about to miss his deadline until he got a phone call from a friend at 4:45 p.m. on the 6th. Then he scrambled to get to city hall.

“I was very embarrassed because I told (my friend) that I still had two more days, but he said, ‘Hubert. You’ve got to go now! You’ve got to go to city hall, now!’” Huh said. “What I believe is I got there at five. Five o’clock. But she kept saying, '5:01, 5:01.'”

“If you voted for him, your vote doesn’t count. But that’s on him, not you,” Walker said. “I feel bad for him, but there’s nothing we can do.”

Walker said, unfortunately, the city cannot make an exception on the deadline to submit financial disclosure forms or else the integrity of the election would be compromised. The forms are an important part of the democratic process, allowing voters to see who is donating to each campaign.

“I personally like Hubert. I think he’s a really decent guy, and I think he probably would be a good council member,” Walker said. “If our recorder had not fixed it timely, I could see an argument there, but she fixed it on the same day.”

Huh said he is now looking at legal remedies to see if he can figure out a way to appeal the city’s decision.

FOX 13 has submitted a public records request for a timestamped copy of surveillance video within city hall that day.

The city maintains that — even if Huh arrived at 4:59 instead of 5:01 — he still did not have the completed forms with him to submit.

“If it’s 5:00, it can’t be 5:01, because if we’re going to go to 5:01, why not go to 5:02 or 5:03 or why even have a deadline?” Walker argued. “We have an obligation to protect the process, and that’s all we’re doing — just saying everyone got treated exactly the same.”