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Elections officials reject Juneau man's Obama challenge

Posted: March 4, 2012 - 1:06am
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a conservation event at the U.S. Dept. of Interior in Washington, Friday, March, 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)  Pablo Martinez Monsivais
Pablo Martinez Monsivais
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a conservation event at the U.S. Dept. of Interior in Washington, Friday, March, 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Alaska elections officials have dismissed a challenge to the placement of President Barack Obama on the ballot, saying a Juneau man who had sought the action didn’t know what he was talking about.

Gordon Epperly, 70, a retired bus driver, filed an objection with the state Elections Division to Obama’s placement on the primary and general election ballots.

Epperly said Obama could not properly be nominated because of his race.

Epperly, who said he is eligible to register to vote but chooses not to, has had a long history of challenging the right of minorities to vote, and has waged an unsuccessful legal campaign to show that the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was not properly adopted.

That amendment, ratified in 1868, overturned the “Dred Scot” Supreme Court decision and conferred citizenship on black former slaves.

Epperly noted in his filings he was a “natural born Caucasian male citizen.”

Federal District Court Judge John Sedwick has slapped down a couple of Epperly’s lawsuits, calling them “frivolous.” A federal appeals court charged him $2,500 for bringing a frivolous appeal of a dismissal.

State Elections Director Gail Fenumiai last week dismissed Epperly’s challenge to Obama’s ballot listing, informing him Alaska has no primary election ballot. Party caucuses make nominations in Alaska, she said.

Further, the appeals process he sought to use was for state candidates, not national executive office candidates. She told Epperly the political parties submit those candidates to the division after their conventions.

There is nothing in state law allowing Alaska to intervene in the selection of presidential candidates, Fenumiai said.

Fenumiai also told Epperly the division has been following challenges to Obama’s eligibility for office in other states.

“Our understanding is that the claims regarding President Obama’s lack of eligibility for the presidency are false and that no court has found any merit in them,” she said.

Epperly’s challenge to Obama has received little mainstream media coverage, though outlets such as msnbc.com and The Huffington Post have linked it to the “birther” challenges to Obama’s citizenship.

• Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or at patrick.forgey@juneauempire.com.

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