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Thursday, March 5, 2015 |  Madison, WI: -3.0° F  Fair
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Late forms will keep two Madison Common Council candidates off the ballot (updated)
Arthur Kohl-Riggs
Arthur Kohl-Riggs

The long list of candidates running for Common Council this spring will apparently be two candidates shorter than expected.

Madison City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl said this morning that two candidates running for alder -- Colin Bowden and Arthur Kohl-Riggs -- will not be allowed on the ballot because they did not turn in statements of economic interest on time. Both candidates are running in the second district, which covers part of downtown and the near-east side.

If the ruling stands, there will only be three candidates running in the district now represented by Bridget Maniaci.

Kohl-Riggs was upset to learn about the decision and had been unaware the form was required.

He said he was directed by the city clerk's office to a website with campaign registration documents. "There was a form that said 'statement of financial interest,' and it said only for municipal judges. So I assumed that it wasn't relevant," says Kohl-Riggs.

When he turned in his other forms, Kohl-Riggs says he asked the assistant clerk whether there was anything else he needed to file and was told no. He discovered too late that wasn't the case.

Both candidates have since filed the forms, but Witzel-Behl says she cannot make exceptions. "I checked with the [city] attorney's office and there's nothing that gives the clerk's office discretion to allow them to file late."

By identifying where candidates work and other financial ties, the forms are intended "to provide information that will identify potential conflicts of interest." (The city clerk currently lists "statement of economic interests" on its online guide for candidate filings, but Isthmus does not know what specifically Kohl-Riggs was looking at or whether the website has been since changed.)

Kohl-Riggs says a checklist (PDF) provided by the Government Accountability Board is what the clerk's office referred him to in looking for information in how to run for office. It states only municipal judge candidates need to file the statement of economic interest.

Kohl-Riggs admits that other places do note the form is required, but that he had no reason to doubt that GAB form, which nevertheless says candidates have until Jan. 7 to file the form, a deadline he met.

"We're filing a complaint right now. I was told there's really nothing they can do," Kohl-Riggs says. "I'm a little frustrated and disappointed in the process."

The primary is Feb. 19 and the general election April 2.

[Editor's note: The story was updated at 4:52 p.m. with additional comments from Kohl-Riggs about his filing for candidacy.]

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