Assembly chair hires law firm to look into election woes

Findings of legal review are to be presented at a special meeting Thursday.

Anchorage Daily NewsApril 27, 2012 

Assembly chairman Ernie Hall has hired an Anchorage law firm to provide legal advice about certifying the troubled April 3 election, the city clerk said.

Hall tapped Birch, Horton, Bittner & Cherot to review recent reports from the city Election Commission and the city attorney, said clerk Barbara Gruenstein.

Gruenstein said the legal review is separate from the independent election investigation Hall has pledged to conduct. The city clerk said she believes Hall, who could not be reached for comment, is close to choosing an investigator.

Meantime, Birch Horton will review the Assembly's duties as they relate to certification of the problem-plagued election, she wrote.

Lawyer Tim Petumenos -- a former prosecutor known for his Personnel Board investigation of Sarah Palin's role in the so-called "Troopergate" case -- will present the findings at a special Assembly meeting Thursday at Loussac Library.

The Election Commission found that more than half of city precincts temporarily ran out of ballots during the election, according to a report unveiled this week. Still, the panel recommended against hiring a third-party investigator and has urged the Assembly to certify the election.

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