Ruled out by Division of Elections, Haines man keeps campaigning anyway

William "Bill" McCord

William "Bill" McCord

The Alaska Division of Elections says Bill McCord isn’t running for the Alaska Legislature.

He says otherwise.

The Haines Libertarian is pressing ahead with a write-in campaign to challenge Rep. Sam Kito III, D-Juneau, to represent House District 33 in the Alaska Legislature, even after receiving a letter saying his candidacy is invalid.

“Your declaration of candidacy indicates that you have been a resident of Alaska since May 5, 2014, which as of today … does not meet the three-year Alaska residency requirement,” Alaska Division of Elections director Josie Bahnke wrote on Wednesday. “For this reason, I am denying certification of your candidacy for House District 33.”

Reached by phone on Thursday, McCord had a simple response to that letter.

“All I can say is they’re acting unconstitutionally, and there’s case law that verifies that,” he said.

Officially, Kito has no challengers in his bid for re-election to represent a district that includes downtown Juneau and the northern end of Lynn Canal including Skagway, Haines and Gustavus.

Unofficially, McCord has been working on a write-in campaign since late August, shortly after the statewide primary.

In an email to the Empire, he said he “stands for prioritizing the Marine Highway system, scrapping ‘The Road,’ preventing income tax, ending special sessions, and protecting civil liberties.”

On his website, www.mccordforstatehouse.com, he lists his experience as a teacher and his background as a Libertarian Party member since 1972.

Alaska law allows any person to register as a write-in candidate for election up to five days before Election Day.

McCord filed his form on Sept. 30 via fax from a store on Main Street in Haines. In the section “Residency Information,” he states that he has been a resident of Alaska since May 5, 2014.

Article 2, Section 2 of the Alaska Constitution states that “a member of the Legislature shall be a qualified voter who has been a resident of Alaska for at least three years,” among other requirements.

McCord says that requirement may violate a different part of the state constitution, one pertaining to “equal protection” under the law.

In 1994, the Alaska Supreme Court found that a three-year residency requirement for local city council was too strict, and McCord pointed to that decision in saying that the Alaska Constitution’s limit may be illegal.

He said he is considering legal action, and by email added: “Hence, the William McCord campaign marches on — challenging unconstitutional actions of the state as well as the Alaska Legislature’s failure to rectify a serious flaw in the Democratic process.”

But what happens right now if someone writes “William McCord” on their ballot in November — would it count?

“It doesn’t count. Nope,” said Sharon Forrest, elections supervisor for the Division of Elections.

• Contact reporter James Brooks at 523-2258 or james.k.brooks@juneauempire.com.

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