Official qualifies to challenge Ross for Ward 6 seat

Las Vegas Planning Commissioner Byron Goynes has qualified to challenge Ward 6 Councilman Steve Ross in a Jan. 31 recall election, a county official said Friday afternoon.

It was touch and go as election officials tried to verify the signatures on Goynes' petition for candidacy. But Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax said a sampling of the signatures showed Goynes had two more than the 1,084 need to appear on the ballot.

"It can't get any closer than this," Lomax said. "I don't remember the last time it was on the nose. The first time they attempted to recall (Ross), they missed by five signatures."

The next step is to submit the results to the secretary of state, Lomax said.

Goynes' supporters submitted 1,661 signatures. Elections officials picked a random sample of 500 signatures to verify. They found 18 names identified as registered Ward 6 voters whose addresses on record don't match what was on the petition. The registrar's office sought to contact the signees Friday to verify they did put their names on the petition.

They found six individuals who signed the petition, Lomax said. The gave them 327 valid signatures out of 500, and extrapolating that 65 percent over the total signatures meant they would have 1,086 valid signatures.

Ross campaign spokesman Steve Redlinger said they wouldn't challenge the validity.

That means Ross will face Goynes on the Jan. 31 ballot.

If Goynes had failed to qualify, Ross would have faced no candidate in the recall election.

Only registered voters in Ward 6 are eligible to vote.

Qualified residents can register at the city clerk's office on the first floor of City Hall until 9 p.m. Saturday. Early voting takes place Jan. 26-27.

The recall effort was instigated with support from car dealer Joe Scala, who sought Ross' support for a waiver that would have allowed him to sell high-end used vehicles from a dealership where land use rules require auto dealers to sell used cars and carry an affiliation with a manufacturer.

Without the waiver, Scala was forced to close his dealership and lay off workers on Dec. 24, 2010.

In addition to the dispute with Scala, recall organizers fault Ross for violating ethics by voting on issue related to construction of a new city hall while still serving at his former job as secretary-treasurer of the Southern Nevada Building Trades Council, a violation that was deemed nonwillful by the Nevada Ethics Commission.

Critics also blame Ross for going back on a promise to refuse a City Council pay raise.

Contact Benjamin Spillman at bspillman@review or 702-229-6435. Contact Kristi Jourdan at or 702-455-4519.