Candidate residency challenged; Port Angeles port hopeful agrees address incorrect on form but says he lives in district

PORT ANGELES — Port of Port Angeles Commissioner Colleen McAleer’s campaign has filed a voter registration challenge against her general election opponent, Michael Cobb.

She alleged in the challenge filed Tuesday by her campaign that Cobb does not live at John Wayne Marina, the residence he lists on his voter registration form — and alleged Friday that Cobb falsified his address and may have committed a felony.

While a copy of Cobb’s voter registration form lists his “residence address” as 2577 W. Sequim Bay Road — John Wayne Marina — Cobb is not a liveaboard there, according to port records.

Auditor Shoona Riggs said she uses candidates’ voter registration address to determine whether they are eligible to run in the commissioner district they have filed for.

She said Friday she was not in the office Wednesday and had not read the voter registration challenge until Thursday.

Cobb, running for McAleer’s Sequim-area District 1 position, does pay moorage fees at the marina for a 16-foot, $2,000 sailboat at the marina, according to port records.

Cobb said Friday he does not live at the marina but that he lives in District 1.

“My address is known to the police, but it is not public,” he said.

He said he did not want to talk on the record about why he did not list his actual address.

Before filing for the office, he told John Wayne Marina Harbormaster Ron Amundson that he had filed paperwork indicating he lived at the marina, according to an email he sent to a port official.

“Michael came into my office prior to declaring to run for commissioner,” Amundson said Wednesday in an email to Holly Hairel, port human resources and public records officer.

“Asked some work related questions then stated he had listed himself as a Liveaboard at JWM because he did not want to list his actual address in Sequim at his girlfriend’s due to an x causing problems.”

Cobb filed to run for port commissioner May 19.

Riggs said she will post the challenge documents by Monday on the elections department’s website at http://tinyurl.com/PDN-CobbChallenge.

Riggs said a date and time for an administrative voter registration challenge hearing that is open to the public will be set by Friday.

Cobb said that’s when he will have more to say about his situation.

“I’m happy to go through the hearing procedure, and then that will be my comment at that time,” he said.

Riggs said Friday morning that she needed to consult with Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Brian Wendt on what might result from Cobb filing a residence address on his voter registration form that was not his residence.

Wendt did not return calls for comment Friday.

In the challenge, McAleer’s campaign treasurer and husband, David Gilles, said Cobb also does not live at the addresses listed on his candidate registration form and state Public Disclosure Commission Form C-1.

Cobb lists 136 E. Eighth St., No. 304, Port Angeles — The UPS Store — on his candidate registration form.

He lists the John Wayne Marina address on his C-1 form.

“We wanted to have this issue resolved before the general election,” McAleer said Friday.

“I was shocked that someone would fill out their voter registration and candidate registration and public disclosure C1 forms with false information, especially since on the voter registration form, it says falsifying a voter registration form is a Class C felony,” McAleer said Friday.

“It’s not a good start for someone that is going to be, who wishes to be, in an elected position.”

A Class C felony is committed by “any person who knowingly makes or attests to a false declaration as to his or her qualifications as a voter,” according to state law, RCW 29A.84.130.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

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