The Anchorage Assembly is moving closer to hiring an independent investigator to examine the flawed April 3 election, following a recommendation by the city clerk’s office to do just that. Such a move would help reassure those who have lost faith in the offices of the municipal clerk and municipal attorney, said city clerk Barbara Gruenstein, after a two-hour work session on Friday. “The public wants to know more,” said Gruenstein. “It’s real clear that there are certain people that are distrusting my office and (municipal attorney) Dennis (Wheeler’s) office, but we’re open to getting out more information. It’s so sad, all the stuff that’s happened. But an independent person looking at it may give the public the confidence that they need back.” That now appears likely. Four Assembly members who on Tuesday voted against an independent investigator said Friday they could take that step early next week. Their support would likely swing the numbers in favor of an outside review, which failed 4-7.
Fifty-three of 121 precincts ran out of ballots at some point in the election 10 days ago. As ballots ran low and evening approached, a dozen “troubleshooters” hired by the clerk’s office scurried around town to restock dwindling supplies, but they couldn’t be everywhere at once. Voters were told to go to precincts where they weren’t registered, leading to huge numbers of questioned ballots. Some cast votes on sample ballots or photocopied ballots. Some voters reported losing their chance to vote altogether as time ran out.