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Judge rules David Nygaard can keep Virginia Beach council seat pending trial

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach Councilman David Nygaard can keep his seat on City Council for now, and all his votes are official.  

Nygaard won November’s race for the Beach District by a narrow margin, and the results of the November election were certified following a recount in December.

That’s the good news for Nygaard.  

The not so good news for him is there will still be a trial to determine if he was indeed a resident of the Beach District when he filed to run, and during the election.

The question is: was 509 20th Street Suite B where Candidate David Nygaard was registered to vote when he ran for Beach District, or was it a front for Nygaard living secretly in another house outside the district, which would disqualify him from serving.

Former Councilman John Uhrin has taken Nygaard to court, wanting to keep the Beach District council seat vacant until it’s determined Nygaard lived and was properly registered to vote in the District. A

A three judge panel including Chief Circuit Court Judge Glenn Croshaw with two on the phone left that issue for another day, and ruled unanimously Nygaard can keep the seat.

“I was elected on November 6, that went to a certification which is an audit, I was certified again after the recount on December 21 … and I have taken the oath of office … I am already serving the people of Virginia Beach,” Nygaard said Tuesday. 

It weighed heavy that Nygaard is already sworn in, and the judges didn’t think they had the constitutional right to remove him before trial.  

They felt doing that would disenfranchise the 60,000 people who live in the Beach District.

 Nygaard said, “That is correct. We have important votes coming in, we have important votes today, we have important votes next week regarding the “Dome Project.” It is the largest public-private partnership in history, and the 60,000 citizens of Virginia Beach in the Beach District need representation for that project.”

Nygaard told reporters after the hearing, “Mr. Uhrin  needs to make his decision if he wants to go to work, or if he simply wants to sit in a chair … I have been going to work, working for the people, meeting with various commissions and committees at the beach. These are public meetings. Mr. Uhrin has not shown his face at any of these meetings. He hasn’t shown his face at any of these hearings.”

10 On Your Side contacted Uhrin, who directed us to his attorney for any comments. 

A possible issue, Nygaard’s under oath answer to question No. 5 on his Certificate of Candidate Qualification form.  

Under oath he checked: “ I am registered to vote at the above address in the precinct in which I reside.”  

He indicated that address is 509 20th Street Suite B. Uhrin’s legal team will argue at trial that Nygaard was not registered at the time to vote at the home like he indicated.  

However, Nygaard and his attorney point to the rest of question 5 which reads, “or my application for registration, transfer, or change of address is on file in the general registrar’s office.” 

“I stood before Cynthia. I processed my application for change of residency. She cleared it with the Board of Elections. She cleared it with the City Attorney.”

David Nygaard’s residency trial is set for February 21 and February 22.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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