By Richard Van Winkle, News of Mill Creek.
After a public hearing and a brief deliberation, the Snohomish County Canvasing Board ruled unanimously that Mill Creek City Councilmember Sean Kelly lives in Snohomish and therefor his voter registration in Mill Creek is invalid.
The Friday, November 17, 2017, hearing was convened to address Carmen Fisher’s challenge to Kelly’s voter registration.
Snohomish County Auditor Carolyn Weikel made it clear to everyone who was present at the hearing that the canvasing board’s ruling only pertains to Kelly’s voters registration. Another process will decide his position on the Mill Creek City Council.
Fisher’s October 27th challenge referenced evidence that “Kelly remains a Mill Creek property owner, but not a Mill Creek resident.”
Fisher’s challenge went on to say, “Accordingly, his Voter Registration should be found invalid and updated to reflect his new address.”
Kelly’s residency has been in question since September when he told Mill Creek Beacon Publisher Paul Archipley that he moved to Snohomish.
When asked direct questions by Chief Civil Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jason Cummings about his residency at Friday’s hearing, Kelly truthfully replied that he has been living outside Mill Creek city limits since July 28, 2017.
When making the motion to uphold Fisher’s challenge Cummings stated that Kelly’s testimony was the determining factor in the canvasing board’s decision to rescind Kelly’s voter registration.
This decision does not alter the 2017 General Election results. Kelly got the most votes and undoubtedly Snohomish County will certify this result on November 28th. According to Snohomish County Elections Manager Garth Fell, Fisher doesn’t win the election by default.
However, since Washington State law requires city councilmembers to reside within city limits, Kelly has been ineligible to serve on the Mill Creek City Council since he moved to Snohomish at the end of July.
It’s unclear what will happen now. Since he is required to vacate his office, Kelly can resign or the Mill Creek City Council can remove him from office. At that point, the city council has ninety days to appoint his replacement.