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Nome’s Municipal Election Results Challenged But Still Official

Nome City Manager Tom Moran and City Clerk Bryant Hammond tally votes. Election results have been canvassed and are official. Photo: Margaret DeMaioribus/KNOM (2016).

Nome’s City Council adjourned yesterday’s special session after passing a resolution to canvass the election results; however, that decision was not made without contention.

The point of contention was Chuck Wheeler’s candidacy for Seat D of the Nome Joint Utility Board. Citizen Carl Emmons formally submitted a challenge to Chuck Wheeler’s eligibility to run as a candidate for the Utility Board based on his habitual home being located outside of city limits.

According to City Attorney Charles Cacciola, Wheeler doesn’t have to live within Nome city limits to be on the Utility Board.

“Candidates’ qualifications are to be determined by the City Clerk, and for this office, the only qualification is that the person is a city voter. So, the City Clerk looked to the code provision that justifies how someone’s qualification(s) as a voter are to be determined,” said Cacciola via telephone.

Once City Hall had received Emmons’ challenge earlier in the week, City Clerk Bryant Hammond questioned Wheeler on his eligibility and qualifications on Tuesday, October 4th. Wheeler produced his voter registration card, which identifies his official residence as 208 Round-the-Clock Drive.

Cacciola explained why that is significant when he said, “(the) voter registration card is a presumption that the person is eligible to vote based on the residence identified on the card. That residence is presumptively their residence.”

That explanation did not satisfy Emmons. In response, he chose to challenge the election results during the City Council special session and asked for someone to investigate further into Wheeler’s residency.

“He’s claiming that his residence is out there, and either there’s one or two scenarios, he does live there, in fact, and is eligible, and has defrauded the City of a bunch of money for mandatory subscription for services that he hasn’t paid. If you can show that he hasn’t paid by any of these resident subscriptions that by ordinance are supposed to be paid by residences for garbage and the dump and stuff, like sewer and water you know. If those haven’t been paid, then how can he say that it’s his residence,” questioned Emmons.

City Manager Tom Moran responded, “when we did receive Mr. Emmons’ initial challenge to the candidacy, we had the Nome Police Department go to 208 Round-the-Clock and speak to neighbors and check the house. And the report from Sgt. Harvey is random items make it look like it’s lived-in, but neighbors can’t remember the last time they saw Mr. Wheeler there.”

After lengthy discussion on this issue, acting Mayor Stan Anderson called for a vote on the resolution to canvass the results of the Municipal election, and all four present Councilmen voted “yes,” despite Emmons’ challenge to the election results.

All previously announced unofficial results are now official, including Chuck Wheeler’s appointment to Seat D of the Utility Board. Nome’s City Council will meet again on Monday night for their regularly scheduled meeting.