16-351. Limitations on appeals of validity of nomination petitions; disqualification of candidate

A. Any elector filing any court action challenging the nomination of a candidate as provided for in this chapter shall do so not later than 5:00 p.m. of the tenth day, excluding Saturday, Sunday and other legal holidays, after the last day for filing nomination papers and petitions.  The elector shall specify in the action the petition number, line number and basis for the challenge for each signature being challenged.  Failure to specify this information shall result in the dismissal of the court action. Within ten days after the filing of the action, the superior court shall hear and render a decision on the matter.  The decision is appealable only to the supreme court, and notice of appeal shall be filed within five days after the decision of the superior court in the action.  The supreme court shall hear and render a decision on the appeal promptly.

B. Any elector may challenge a candidate for any reason relating to qualifications for the office sought as prescribed by law, including age, residency, professional requirements or failure to fully pay fines, penalties or judgments as prescribed in sections 16-311, 16-312 and 16-341, if applicable.

C. In any action challenging a nomination petition, the following persons are indispensable parties to the action and shall be named and served as defendants:

1. The candidate whose petition is the subject of the challenge.

2. The officer with whom the petitions are required to be filed.

3. The board of supervisors and the recorder of each county or the clerk of each city or town who is responsible for preparing the ballots that contain the challenged candidate's name.

D. For the purposes of an action challenging nomination petitions, the board of supervisors and the recorder of each county or the clerk of each city or town responsible for preparing the ballots that contain the challenged candidate's name and each person filing a nomination petition under this chapter appoints the officer with whom the candidate files the nomination paper and petitions as the person's agent to receive service of process. In an action challenging a nomination petition process shall be served immediately after the action is filed and in no event more than twenty-four hours after filing the action, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and other legal holidays. Immediately on receipt of process served on the officer as agent for a person filing a nomination petition, the officer shall mail the process to the person and shall notify the person by telephone of the filing of the action.

E. The county recorder or other officer in charge of elections shall perform petition signature verifications for nomination petition challenges for signatures of qualified electors who are residents of that county and shall provide testimony and other evidence on request of any of the parties to the challenge.

F. Notwithstanding the system used pursuant to section 16-163, subsection D, the most current version of the general county register at the time of filing of a court action challenging a nomination petition constitutes the official record to be used to determine on a prima facie basis by the challenger that the signer of a petition was not registered to vote at the residence address given, or at the address on the general county register if a mailing address was given, on the date of signing of the petition. This subsection does not preclude the challenged candidate from introducing into evidence a certified copy of the registration form of any signer of a petition dated on or before the date of the signing of the petition if the registration form is in the possession of the county recorder but has not yet been filed in the general county register.

G. In addition to the procedures set forth in this section, all petitions that have been submitted by a candidate who is found guilty of petition forgery shall be disqualified and that candidate shall not be eligible to seek election to a public office for a period of not less than five years.