Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


By CVN Staff 

Hess sues borough, Goodman


November 11, 2010

Haines Borough Manager Mark Earnest and assemblyman Greg Goodman have until Thanksgiving to respond to a lawsuit challenging Goodman’s election.

Goodman’s opponent in the Oct. 5 municipal election, Karen Hess, filed suit in Superior Court Nov. 4 against the borough and Goodman, asserting that the assembly violated borough code by failing to investigate Goodman’s voter registration applications in Anchorage on March 26 and July 30 of 2009.

The suit cites a section of state law that reads, "The address of a voter as it appears on the official voter registration record is presumptive evidence of the person’s voting residence. The presumption is negated only if the voter notifies the director in writing of a change of voting residence."

Goodman changed his voter registration back to Haines on Aug. 2, about two weeks before he filed for candidacy to the seat, and cast a questioned ballot in the Aug. 24 primary election.

The suit alleges Goodman violated state law and borough code by filing for the seat. It says Goodman applied for a fishing and hunting license using an Anchorage address in 2009 and said Goodman, who was working in Anchorage, attempted to sell his Highlands Estates home and an upper valley cabin in 2008.

Hess is seeking unspecified monetary damages and legal fees.

The borough assembly certified Goodman’s election Oct. 26 on a 4-2 vote.

Borough attorney Brooks Chandler said then that the facts developed during a borough investigation of Goodman’s residency could be interpreted either to support the assembly decision or the election challenge.

Chandler said the decision hinged on Goodman’s intent to remain in Haines, and that Goodman’s voter registration in Anchorage was inconsistent with statements he intended to return.