Thu, 05/05/2022 - 10:21am admin
Amanda Mendez, Publisher
If his lawsuit is successful, Mark Collins will run unopposed in the race for Howell County Collector. Collins filed a lawsuit on April 25 that seeks to remove his opponent, Janet Crow, from the ballot. Both Collins and Crow have filed as Republicans in the August primary election for the Collector of Revenue's seat.
According to a list of candidates obtained on April 22 from Howell County Clerk Kelly Waggoner, two Republican candidates filed for county Collector: Collins and Crow.
Collins, currently the presiding commissioner in Howell County, is not seeking reelection for that seat. Incumbent County Collector Dennis Von Allmen is stepping down.
The lawsuit also names Waggoner as a respondent in her official capacity as county clerk. Candidate filing for county-wide offices ended on March 29. The certification date for the ballots in the August election is May 24.
The petition filed by Collins’ Springfield-based attorney requests the court to hold a hearing and subsequently issue an order “instructing the election authority not to identify…Crow as a primary candidate for the office of County Collector.”
Collins’ suit claims Crow should be disqualified as a candidate for two reasons: because she filed to run for office two minutes after filing closed and because a document she presented for filing was not notarized.
For the first allegation, the suit cites RSMo. 115.349 which defines an end date and time for candidate filing. The statute reads in pertinent part, “No candidate’s name shall be printed on any official primary ballot unless the candidate has filed a written declaration of candidacy in the office of the appropriate election official by 5:00 p.m. on the last Tuesday in March immediately preceding the primary election.”
Crow’s Declaration of Candidacy is dated March 29, 2022, at 5:02 p.m. and is attached to Collins’ petition filed with the court. Howell County News requested the document directly from the county clerk’s office, and it clearly reads 5:02 p.m.
For the second, the petition refers to a statute that defines requirements specifically for the office of county collector. RSMo. 52.010 reads in part, “The candidate shall present to the election authority a copy of a signed affidavit from a surety company authorized to do business in this state, indicating that the candidate meets the statutory bond requirements for the office for which the candidate is filing.”
Crow produced a signed letter from a Shelter Insurance agent in Springfield stating that she meets the statutory bond requirements for the office, but the letter is not notarized. The copy Collins filed with the court as proof of his allegation is identical to the copy obtained by Howell County News from the election authority, Waggoner.
Collins declined to comment on pending litigation.
Crow was unavailable for comment prior to press time.
At the time of this writing, there are no hearings scheduled in online court records.
Watch future editions of Howell County News for ongoing coverage of this case.