Judge clears Szymanski to run for state Senate

Posted: Tuesday, September 05, 2000

KENAI (AP) -- A judge has upheld Democrat Mike Szymanski's eligibility to run for the state Senate in District E.

The Republican Party of Alaska and GOP activists tried to block the former lawmaker's bid to unseat incumbent Sen. Jerry Ward in the district that stretches from south Anchorage to the northern part of the Kenai Peninsula.

They argue that Szymanski had not lived in the district for the required year before he filed for office. As proof, they offered the fact that he voted in another district in last September's special election and didn't change his voter registration until January.

A state law says ''a qualified voter loses residence by voting in another election district or in another state's elections.''

Szymanski contends he has lived in the district since 1998 at the condominium of his companion, Sheelah Shelton.

Director of Elections Janet Kowalski ruled in Szymanski's favor, and the GOP took the issue to court.

Kenai Superior Court Judge Jonathan Link upheld Kowalski's decision Tuesday, saying that Alaska law allows voters to cast their ballots outside of their home districts.

Randy Ruedrich, the chairman of the Republican Party of Alaska, said the party hasn't decided whether to appeal Link's decision to the Alaska Supreme Court.

''There's certainly a chance of an appeal,'' Ruedrich said. ''The judge's interpretation and application of the law seems to be less than complete.''

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