The Anchorage Assembly certified the recount of the April 3rd Municipal Election Tuesday evening. Several Assembly members pushed for public comment on the certification, but the chair denied it. KSKA’s Daysha Eaton was there and filed this report. The Chair of the Election Recount Board, Denise Stephens presented a report of their work to the Assembly. She explained that 13 of the 15 precincts the Board reviewed closely matched with a few of the precincts off by 1 or 2. At Precinct 840, Service High School, the Board could not find 8 ballots for voters that had signed the register. One possible explanation is that these 8 voters left the precinct without voting after having signed the precinct register. Precinct 660 had a similar result with 6 signatures more than corresponding ballots. The recount resulted in no change in the outcome of the election. Stephens noted that the Election Board did investigate the voting machines.The April 3rd Municipal Election was fraught with problems. An Election Commission report blamed the Clerk’s Office for not distributing enough ballots. More than half of the precincts ran out of ballots. Assembly members Harriet Drummond requested public comment on the certification.
I think we’re being extremely unfair to the public to not allow them a specific opportunity to testify on this election as opposed to making them wait until the end of the meeting when the media has gone home, when most people have turned it off. I think this is wrong. (Hall:) Ms. Drummond that will be duly noted.] Assembly members Paul Honeman and Elvi Gray-Jackson also spoke in support of public testimony being included. But Chair Ernie Hall denied that request and was supported by Municipal Attorney Dennis Wheeler, citing an attorney hired by the municipality to provide an opinion on the issue. I’ve reviewed the opinion provided by Mr. Petumenos and I recall his comments here at the assembly meeting and I agree with those comments. I trust his analysis of the issue and agree with him that this is a quasi-judicial matter, it’s not a public hearing item.