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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Daysha Eaton is the News Director at KBBI in Homer. Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage. Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email. Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.