SEQUIM — A Port of Port Angeles commissioner candidate who falsified his voter registration address has vowed to seek a judge’s permission to correct the information but prevent it from public disclosure, saying he wants to protect his partner.
Michael Cobb, running against Sequim-area District 1 incumbent Colleen McAleer, said during his opening statement at an Sequim Sunrise Rotary election forum Friday that he wasn’t aware of his options when he falsely listed port-owned John Wayne Marina, where he moors a 14-foot boat, as his actual residence.
He has said he lives in District 1 but has refused to disclose his address, saying Sequim police know where he lives.
Filing false information on a voter registration form is a Class C felony.
Cobb, keeps his address private out of concern for his life partner, he told about 60 Rotary breakfast-goers in his opening statement.
“Her ex-husband was very difficult and was responsible for domestic violence and so forth,” Cobb said.
He provided Peninsula Daily News with a signed statement dated Wednesday, Aug. 2, that said he was making it “under penalty of perjury,” according to the statement.
“I resided in District 1 of Clallam County when I filed my current voter registration form, and when I filed my candidacy for Port Commissioner, District 1 in May 2017,” it said.
“I continue to reside in the same location.”
Sequim lawyer Craig Ritchie, representing Cobb, said Thursday that he intends to seek a declaratory judgment from Clallam County Superior Court to seal, from public disclosure, Cobb’s voter-registration address information.
“The judge might be able to see it,” Ritchie said.
Cobb told the breakfast group he and his partner had gone to “great lengths” to mask their address from her ex-husband.
“I also had an opportunity to discourage his stalking behavior,” he said. “He was following her and harassing her. I intercepted him and I persuaded him that that was not a good idea.
“No blows were struck. No medical attention was necessary.
“However, I think he did have to change his shorts.
“Which is one of the reasons why I think he made a big stink about it.”
Brown Maloney, former owner and publisher of the Sequim Gazette, asked Cobb if he had ever been arrested for a criminal offense “or any kind of misdemeanor.”
“I did have that one assault charge,” Cobb said.
“I was not arrested. That was resolved.”
McAleer said she has never been arrested for anything.
Cobb pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery Aug. 10, 2012, in Ventura County, Calif., Superior Court, according to court docket notes that list the incident as having occurred May 5, 2012.
He was ordered to pay a $414.82 criminal justice administrative fee, a $100 investigative fee, $120 in restitution and was put on conditional revocable release for three years, under which he had to report any changes of address and arrests, citations and probation violations.
Details of the May 5, 2012 battery incident were unavailable from police in the California city where the incident occurred and from Ventura County Superior Court records, spokespersons from those agencies said last week.
The court records have been expunged, and the police records are not disclosable, they said.
Cobb said Thursday the assault incident involving the ex-husband occurred in a parking lot near the home of Cobb and his partner.
“He had a habit of following her and encountering her,” Cobb said.
Cobb said he is trained in martial arts and weighs about 225 pounds.
The man he confronted weighed about 240 pounds, he said.
“Even though he was quite a bit younger, I picked him up and put him in the seat of his car.”
He told the man to “leave her alone,” Cobb said.
“As I understood it, I didn’t have to hit him to be charged.”
Although convicted of battery, he said he believes his behavior was “appropriate.”
“It did discourage him from stalking behavior.”
Cobb told the PDN that he did not know if his partner had a restraining order against her ex-husband in Clallam County. He said he and his partner have been together 6½ years.
Cobb has no remorse about lying on his voter registration form, “none whatsoever,” he said during the interview Thursday.
“I did it with the best of intentions, the best of purposes,” Cobb said.
Cobb said he would do it again if he had to, “but I don’t have to, because now I know of a better process.”
He said later Friday that he also may apply for the state Secretary of State’s Office’s Address Confidentiality Program, which shields broadly disclosable voter information of voters who are fearful for their safety.
“Her fear is relevant and more than adequate in most people’s eyes,” he said. “If someone is afraid of that and afraid of that happening, that meets the definition of domestic violence.”
McAleer filed a voter registration challenge with the Clallam County Auditor’s Office on the address that Cobb listed. Auditor Shoona Riggs rejected the challenge July 26 for not complying with challenge-filing requirements and for being incomplete.
After telling Peninsula Daily News on July 28 that she will refile the challenge, she said Thursday she had changed her mind.
She said another Sequim resident had told her he would be filing a challenge and that she has more important issues to deal with.
“I am focusing on my campaign and what I want to do for the district,” McAleer said.
“If another person had an interest in taking this on, that made a lot of sense to me.”
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].