An Anchorage judge has decided that a person’s intent to move into a political district is good enough for them to run for office.
According to Judge Josie Garton of Alaska Superior Court, the intent to live somewhere puts the seal of legitimacy on that aspect of a person’s candidacy.
Judge Garton has explained her reasoning for her Dec. 9 decision not granting a temporary restraining order against Homer City Councilwoman Storm Hansen-Cavasos.
Tom Stroozas, the Homer resident bringing the complaint against the Homer City Council for seating Hansen-Cavasos, is unlikely to pursue the case; without the temporary restraining order, the court matter could last for two years.
The judge’s ruling means that the case won’t be fast-tracked by the court system and that Hansen-Cavasos will be able to serve for most of her elected term before the case actually would ever be resolved. By then, they’ll be into another election cycle in Homer.
Dropping the case, however, allows the ruling to stand as case law, and has impacts in other jurisdictions.
BACKGROUND IN A NUTSHELL
Storm Hansen-Cavasos lived outside of Homer city limits, and intended to move into the city during the year prior to the Oct. 1 municipal election. There was a lot of evidence that she had not moved before October, 2018. She had, however, moved by August, 2019, filed for city council in August, and was elected to the post in October.
According to the judge’s explanation, while verifying the qualifications of candidates running for Homer City Council, a deputy clerk noted that Hansen-Cavasos was not on the October, 2018 voter rolls. She notified the city clerk, who had a conversation with Hansen-Cavasos, and researched the matter with the Alaska Division of Elections, before deciding that Hansen-Cavasos met the criteria for living in the city limits for the year leading up to the election.
Judge Garton used the word “intent” several time in her legal explanation, released Dec. 10. She noted that the likelihood of the plaintiffs winning the case was improbable. Must Read Alaska’s efforts to reach Stroozas for comment were unsuccessful.