COEUR d'ALENE - A judge dismissed Idaho Sen. Mike Jorgenson's suit against Kootenai County Clerk Dan English on Wednesday.
First District Judge John Luster said that English didn't break protocol by classifying former Montana representative and Jorgenson's District 3 primary opponent Steve Vick as a registered Kootenai County voter leading up to the May primary election.
Whether Vick was eligible to run for the Senate seat could be another question for the Secretary of State's Office, Luster said, but English acted properly upholding Vick's Kootenai County voter registration.
"I don't think the court is in that position," Luster said. "Both of those (charges) turn in favor of English."
Vick, who captured 59.5 percent of the May primary election vote for Jorgenson's seat, first moved to Idaho in 2004. He moved to Montana for three months in 2006, during which time he registered to vote and ran for office in Lewis and Clark County. Kootenai County wasn't notified Vick had moved or registered to vote in Montana, and when Vick moved back to Kootenai County he was informed by Kootenai County he did not need to re-register, as his voting status had never changed.
Jorgenson, R-Hayden Lake, filed a complaint in April that said Vick should have had to re-register as a voter in Kootenai County since he had registered elsewhere. It claimed English failed in his duty as clerk since he did not require Vick to re-register, even after the mixup was brought to English's attention. The remedy sought was to reverse English's decision, and to take Vick off the registered voter rolls.
Had Vick been taken off the voter rolls, he could re-register as a voter. But the timing could have affected his status as an eligible candidate seeking office.
But the candidacy issue wasn't for the court to decide, Luster pointed out, since those guidelines and potential remedies are established by the Secretary of State's Office. Instead English acted properly since he was following instruction from the Secretary of State's Office.
"The Secretary of State is the chief election officer," Luster said.
English was not in the courtroom Wednesday. Jorgenson's attorney, Jason Risch, said after the ruling that his client would decide later whether to pursue the issue through the Secretary of State.
"We're obviously pleased by the outcome and the decision," said Vick, who was in the courtroom but not a part of the suit.
Vick tried to intervene in the suit Wednesday, but Luster declined the motion since it was filed so late. Vick served four consecutive terms from 1995 to 2002 in the Montana House of Representatives.
"It seems the voters thought it's not a valid argument and now a judge has said it's not a valid argument," Vick said. "I just hope that we're done with this, (Jorgenson) quits wasting my money, his money, the taxpayers' money and we can move forward."