The Arizona Supreme Court today reinstated Jean Cheuvront-McDermott, a Democrat who is running for a House seat in central Phoenix, on the primary ballot.
A trial court earlier threw Cheuvront-McDermott off the ballot for not following the law that governs the use of candidates’ names.
Her legal name is Lois Jean McDermott, but she has argued that she has been known as Cheuvront-McDermott for years.
While the Supreme Court agreed with the trial court that the candidate’s nomination paper didn’t strictly comply with statute, it nonetheless found that she “substantially complied” with the law given the circumstances of her case.
In its ruling today, the high court essentially said McDermott is also known by the name “Cheuvront” and there was no suggestion that the listing on her nomination paper could cause confusion among voters about her identity.
Still, the court ordered election officials to use the correct format required by statute in placing her name on the ballot: “McDermott, Jean Cheuvront.”
She is running in a four-way primary for two spots in the House against Minority Leader Chad Campbell, Rep. Lela Alston, and Tom Nerini.
Attorney Kory Langhofer, Cheuvront-McDermott’s lawyer, had argued in his client’s appeal to the Supreme Court that even if the justices were to rule that using “Cheuvront” strayed from the technical requirements of law, she shouldn’t be disqualified because she substantially complied with the law and she cannot be removed from the ballot for “mere technical departures” from form.
Langhofer said the use of “Cheuvront” doesn’t confuse or mislead voters.
“She used the name exclusively for 32 years while she became acquainted with the voters in District 24, and many people still know her by that name exclusively,” Langhofer said, adding, “It cannot be confusing or misleading to associate a person with a name with which she is in fact associated.”