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Appeal filed in recall effort against Alaska Rep. Holmes

Suzanna Caldwell
A group of voters hoping to recall Rep. Lindsey Holmes from office filed an appeal Friday after the state rejected their initial recall petition. Loren Holmes photo

A group looking to recall Rep. Lindsey Holmes, the Anchorage state lawmaker who switched from Democrat to Republican after being reelected last year, filed an appeal Friday, hoping to raise questions over how the state conducts elections.

Members of the group, which consists of about a dozen people, say that while they would like Holmes to be removed from office, the issue runs much deeper. The Alaska Division of Elections rejected the recall effort earlier this month, saying the recall did not meet the state's constitutional standards. The division concluded that Holmes' decision to change parties is lawfully and constitutionally protected.

After the 2012 general election and at the beginning of the legislative session in January, Holmes, who had represented West Anchorage as a Democrat since 2006, changed her party affiliation to Republican. In the process, she joined a super-majority in the Alaska House and earned a seat on the finance committee.

Supporters of the recall effort contend that if Holmes can switch her party affiliation so quickly, it may have broader implications on the election process as a whole.

Spokesman Wigi Tozzi, who hand-delivered the manila folder with the appeal to the Anchorage court Friday, has asked the court to make a ruling on the appeal by early February. He said when people decide to run for office, the form they fill out includes where the candidate lives and their party affiliation. That form must be notarized. Tozzi said if people are allowed to so easily change information on that form, then the legality of the whole process should be questioned.

While Holmes is not listed as a party in the appeal, Tozzi said the lawmaker will likely join the suit once the appeal process moves forward. Then, he hopes, voters of her district will get to hear why she changed parties.

“This is where the real discussion and debate will take place,” he said. “It will be the first time she'll have to answer why she thinks what she did is OK.”

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