Anchorage Assembly Chair Ernie Hall has fired Deputy Clerk Jacqueline Duke. The firing comes on the heels of Hall appointing an independent investigator to look into what went wrong during the messy Municipal Election. On advice from their attorney, no one on the Assembly is saying much about the decision to fire Duke.
“I terminated Jacqueline Duke. She’s the Deputy Clerk for the Clerk’s Office. The Deputy Clerk has oversight of part of the employees, public notice, you name it. She was involved in just about everything that went on inside of the clerk’s office,” Assembly Chair Ernie Hall said.
This morning the clerk’s office began a hand recount of ballots from 15 precincts. Duke was responsible in part for organizing the April 3 election which was fraught with problems from ballot shortages to allegations of broken seals on voting machines. Hall announced Tuesday evening that a retired judge will conduct an independent investigation.
“I am very pleased to announce this evening that the body will be approving a contract for a third party investigator. That investigator is retired judge Dan Hensley,” Hall said.
Henseley was a Superior Court Judge in Anchorage from 1997 to 2005. In addition to announcing the investigator, Hall also formally apologized to precinct worker Wendy Isbell, who was ejected from the Assembly’s certification meeting when she rose to dispute Election Commission Chairwoman Gwen Matthew’s statement that there was no evidence the seals on voting machines had been broken. Isbell interrupted the meeting to say she had personally given testimony that she had seen a cut seal. Chairman Hall had her removed from the room. Hall apologized for that.
“I wish to read this open letter of apology to Wendy Isbell, election worker at Romig Precinct 675. Dear Ms. Isbell, you have my profound apology. You have served this community as an election worker in the 2008 and 2012 elections. You have been generous with your time. You brought forward to this body twice in public testimony the concern you have about broken seals on the AcuVote machines,” Hall said.
Hall confirmed that the Municipality was now looking into her allegations. The hand recount of ballots began at 8:30 Wednesday morning at City Hall with the precinct where Isbell worked, and the one from which she reported a broken seal.