- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 2, 2014

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - A candidate for Nevada controller said the way he sees it, home is where your mail and newspaper are delivered. And he’s been getting his for years at a condominium in Las Vegas.

That’s part of the argument John Michael Schaefer said he will use to challenge the secretary of state’s contention that he doesn’t meet residency requirements to run for the statewide office.

Schaefer, a disbarred attorney, said he plans to represent himself at a hearing Thursday before Clark County District Judge Carolyn Ellsworth.

Secretary of State Ross Miller claims Schaefer should be kept out of the Democratic primary because he was a registered voter in Los Angeles and ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the City Council there only last year.

But the 76-year-old Schaefer, who concedes to being a “gadfly,” argues he’s lived in Las Vegas for decades and his condo on Swenson Street is the only residence he’s owned in the past 20 years.

Nevada election officials argue that state law requires candidates for statewide office to be residents for two years preceding an election, and point to his active voter registration status in Los Angeles as evidence of his ineligibility to be on the June ballot.

Schaefer disagrees, though doesn’t deny he may be registered to vote in Southern California.

“Maybe true, never canceled it, but have my current registration since 2003 in Clark County, they sent me a card last October confirming it and I called and was told that it was current since 2003,” he told The Associated Press in an email Wednesday.

He argues that Nevada’s interpretation of domicile and residence “make allowance for the fact we are busy citizens who go here-and-yon for many purposes, entertainment, politics, business opportunities, vacationing, study, always maintaining their historical residence where things like high school yearbooks, family albums, daily newspaper delivery, most all mail, come.

“As a matter of fact, defendant meets the requirements of the law,” he wrote in a brief response to the court.

Schaefer served on the San Diego City Council in the 1960s and has been a perennial, if unsuccessful, candidate in various races around the country since then - in Nevada, Los Angeles, San Francisco, even a U.S. Senate race in Maryland.

He’s also challenged election law residency requirement before - and won.

He sued California and Riverside County when he was denied papers because of residency to file for a special election to fill the U.S. House seat left open when Rep. Sonny Bono died in a skiing accident at Lake Tahoe. Though his lawsuit became moot when Bono’s widow, Mary, was elected, his case wound up before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which struck down a portion of California election code that banned out-of-state residents from seeking congressional offices. It said candidates for those federal offices may live out of state until the day they are elected.

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