ST. GEORGE — After Ed Kennedy, a write-in candidate for lieutenant governor, withdrew from the race Monday, his running mate Madeline Kazantzis, whose residency is in question, has yet to withdraw.
Kazantzis, who is also known for organizing the Moms Against Masks coalition, allegedly doesn’t meet residency requirements as outlined in the Utah Constitution. By signing the declaration of the candidacy and filing it with the Lt. Governor’s Office, she was affirming she was qualified.
While Kazantzis grew up in Utah, residency requirements to hold office require a person to have lived in Utah five years leading up to and adjacent to the election.
Specifically, under Article 7, Section 3 in the Utah Constitution, it states:
No person is eligible to any of the offices provided for in section one unless at the time of election that person is a qualified voter and has been a resident citizen of the state for five years next preceding the election.
In a Facebook post about his withdrawal, Kennedy said over the weekend attorneys and public office holders examined the different language for qualifications of governor and lieutenant governor in Utah’s Constitution and discovered significant discrepancies in the wording in the documents from the Lt. Governor’s Office.
“Under the poor interpretation from the Lt. Governor’s office, Madeline and I are both fully qualified for our respective offices. We both relied upon that wording as accurate.”
Unfortunately, he added, the interpretation of residency was “dreadfully inaccurate” as compared to the actual interpretation of Utah’s Constitution.
“Because of this, and, at no fault of Madeline’s, I’m concerned about her eligibility to hold the office of governor. I do not hold Madeline one bit responsible for this. I’m so grateful for the hard work, and support we’ve received.”
In the comments of the post, Kazantzis said: “I am still running. I will do all that I can to make sure that all of our hard work is counted.”
Many voiced concerns about Kazantzis’ unwillingness to withdraw as a write-in candidate, as she would most likely be challenged immediately if she were to win. Others are still supporting her and say they are planning to still vote for her.
In a live stream, Eric Moutsos said he believed she wasn’t eligible, and he was frustrated that she is blocking people on social media when they ask her questions about her eligibility.
“People started asking about residency; she just started blocking people,” he said. “She blocked Kate Dalley. She blocked Michelle Boulter. And these are constituents that were backing her up.”
According to a tip St. George News received, Kazantzis was registered to vote in North Carolina in August 2015. She later requested for the removal of her voter registration in 2018. She was also in the news after her vehicle and trailer were stolen in Colombia, Missouri, while she and her family were driving across the country to move from North Carolina to Colorado in late February 2020.
St. George News reached out to Kazantzis but had not heard back at the time of this report.
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