, Muskogee, OK

December 11, 2012

Hearing on candidate challenge postponed till today

By Cathy Spaulding

— An erroneous date on a notice prompted the Muskogee County Election Board to recess a meeting until 10 a.m. today.

Derek A. Nunn, who is running for Hilldale’s Office 3, is challenging the candidacy of opponent Szabi Szabo. Nunn says Szabo has not lived in Office 3 boundary lines for the required six months before the filing. Szabo also has not registered to vote in the Office 3 address, Nunn said.

The Muskogee County Election Board was scheduled to meet Monday to consider the candidacy challenge. However, the notice the Election Board had served to Szabo had an incorrect meeting date — 1:30 p.m. Dec. 11, 2013.

Attorney D.D. Hayes said Szabo was not served notice of the meeting until 12:30 a.m. Monday, only 13 hours before the meeting. He asked the board to reschedule the meeting to give Szabo proper time to respond.

Szabo was not at the meeting because he was at work in Tulsa, Hayes said, adding that he did not have time that morning to get off work.

Nunn filed notice Friday contesting Szabo’s candidacy. Nunn said he told Szabo that he (Szabo) did not meet the residency requirements. Nunn said Szabo told him he would withdraw.

At the withdrawal deadline Friday afternoon, Szabo had not withdrawn.

Assistant Election Board Secretary Ellen Thames said every effort was made over the weekend to serve notice to Szabo.

Thames said rescheduling the election board meeting would delay efforts to get ballots printed in time for the Feb. 12 election. She said her office must get military ballots out.

The election board voted to recess the meeting until 10 a.m. today.

A third candidate seeking Hilldale’s Office 3 school board is Chris F. Pantle. Incumbent Jeff Sanders did not run.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogee