Assembly Digs Into Election Mess, Weighs Investigation

Friday the Anchorage Assembly held a special work session to gather information about what went wrong during the April 3 Municipal Election. The session left the body with more questions than answers.

The Assembly questioned the Municipal Clerk, the Election Commission and the Municipal Attorney. They gathered data about the number of ballots ordered and how they were distributed, troubleshooting procedures and what it would take to overturn the election. After the session, Assembly Chair Debbie Ossiander said she thinks an investigation may be necessary.

“Well, I personally am leaning toward appointing an independent investigation. But we’ll have to talk with the body, see what additional questions and we’ll have to decide the scope of that. Yeah, we’re getting pretty close,” Ossiander said.

Polling places ran out of ballots during the April 3 municipal election and some voters reported they were turned away at the polls. Municipal Clerk Barbara Gruenstein weighed in on the matter, delivering a letter to the Assembly recommending they engage an independent investigator, something the ACLU of Alaska called for earlier this week.

“And if they go down that path, and get and independent investigator, we will do everything we can to help out and make sure all the information is known,” Gruenstein said.

The Assembly Chair says it’s likely they’ll take a vote on the matter at their next regular meeting, Tuesday, April 17.

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