The Anchorage Assembly voted 8 to 3 Thursday to finally certify the flawed April 3 city election, subject to the results of a recount of 15 precincts. The election was plagued by ballot shortages at precincts all around town. Some people voted on sample ballots that couldn’t be counted until after election day. Some would-be voters said they gave up and went home. But a private lawyer hired to advise the Assembly on certification told the Assembly it can’t arbitrarily decide not to certify the election.
If someone formally contests the results — and no one did by the deadline — that person must establish that there was corruption or reckless conduct, wrote Timothy Petumenos, the independent counsel. Petumenos said even “outright corrupt or criminal conduct which may have been aimed at affecting the outcome” wouldn’t be sufficient grounds not to certify unless the conduct could have changed the outcome. In fact, Petumenos said, failure to follow the certification procedures in place before the election could result in federal constitutional violations.