Assembly chairman calls for hiring of election investigator

Rosemary Shinohara

Anchorage Assembly Chairman Ernie Hall said Thursday he will hire a retired judge to conduct a special investigation into what went wrong with the municipal election April 3, with about 40 percent of the precincts running short of ballots.

The shortages forced some voters to use sample ballots, some to wait for delivery of more ballots and others to drive to different polling places.

Some voters have said they gave up and went home.

Hall said he has authority to launch the investigation on his own but has spoken with Assembly members and expects their backing. He said he wants to get it going midweek. He has not firmed up who will do it, he said, and he couldn't provide any names.

Meanwhile, the city Election Commission will hold meetings Saturday and Monday to hear from precinct workers and anyone else who had issues with voting, he said.

The city clerk's office, which runs city elections, is asking anyone who tried to vote but couldn't to email, and to include their full name and precinct information.

The commission intends to write a report by Wednesday and the Assembly will hold a special meeting at 5 p.m. May 3 to decide whether to certify the election, Hall said.

The Election Commission hearing Saturday will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Wilda Marston Theater at Loussac Library, Hall said. The Monday hearing will begin at 4 p.m. at City Hall.

The election ballot included two big draws, the mayor's race and a proposition to extend the city's equal rights law to cover gays, lesbians and transgender people. Mayor Dan Sullivan won and the proposition lost, each by a large margin. Voters also approved several bond propositions.

The Assembly was scheduled to certify the results last Tuesday but the Election Commission had not completed its work yet. Two new School Board members who were to take office next Monday must wait to be seated until the election is certified. The mayor does not begin his second term until July.

Reach Rosemary Shinohara at or 257-4340.

Anchorage Daily News