Election contest begins
The Haines Borough Assembly on Tuesday certified results of the municipal election including directing the clerk and manager to investigate an election contest filed Oct 8 by Karen Hess.
The assembly also certified Sean Cone as winner of school board seat "E." Cone received 487 votes, compared to 466 for Jones, following the count of absentee and questioned ballots.
Hess lost her write-in bid against candidate Greg Goodman for a three-year assembly seat. In her filing, Hess said Goodman doesn’t meet residency requirements as outlined in two sections of borough code.
She also claims Goodman committed perjury by swearing before a notary on Aug. 9 that he was a borough resident and a qualified voter for one year immediately preceding the election.
Hess’ claim includes that information from Republican Party leader Paulette Simpson showed Goodman was registered to vote in Anchorage in mid-June, and that Goodman’s home and cabin here had been listed for sale in 2008 and 2009.
Signers of the contest include Don "Duck" Hess, Roger Maynard, Barbara Maynard, Melissa Snell, Michael and Katherine Binkie, Charles Strong, William Valentine, Ron Martin and Gary Hess.
Residency requirements for office holders are addressed in three different sections of borough code, with slightly varying language. The borough charter says a candidate must be a resident "for at least one year immediately preceding the election." Under "qualifications for nominations," a person who "has resided continuously within the borough for a period of at least one year immediately preceding the election" is qualified to hold elective office.
Goodman has maintained he meets residency requirements as outlined in a third section of code addressing "qualifications of assembly members," which says a person qualifies to serve on the assembly "if the individual continues to maintain the individual’s principal place of residence" in the borough "and has done so for at least one year" prior to filing for office.
Clerk Julie Cozzi said the investigation would include gathering pertinent documents such as a permanent fund application in which Goodman lists his physical address in Anchorage and his mailing address in Haines.
"I don’t think there’s a whole lot more that we can do that’s not already been done," Cozzi said this week.
In the event Goodman’s election isn’t certified, Cozzi said it wasn’t clear to her whether the seat would be filled by assembly appointment or by a new election. She said she forwarded that question to the borough assembly. "This is new territory for me."