A roiling round of election second-guessing ramped up Wednesday as the Anchorage Municipal Clerk’s office tried to determine how a mayoral election in which 27 percent of the registered voters showed up could have resulted in widespread ballot shortages, and others tried to understand why sentiment on a controversial ballot measure flip-flopped less than a week before the vote. While allegations of disenfranchisement grew louder, with anecdotes of voters being turned away at the polls, some things appeared certain — including results of the mayoral election. Although contender Paul Honeman isn’t conceding yet, incumbent Mayor Dan Sullivan — who led by a whopping 21 percent with nearly all precincts reporting — declared victory. “I’m concerned, like everybody, that some voters may have been disenfranchised, but the margin is significant enough that I think I can declare victory,” Sullivan said at a press conference. He appeared to be one of the few happy voters out there.
Questions about how far voter disenfranchisement extended spurred scrutiny from the office of the Municipal Attorney as well as the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska. Meantime, the campaigns of Honeman and of One Anchorage — which threw its support behind the heavily-debated ballot Proposition 5 that would have included gay and transgender individuals in the city’s anti-discrimination code — are in a holding pattern while the Municipal Clerk’s office sorts everything out.
Jeff Mittman, ACLU of Alaska executive director and a public supporter of Prop. 5, said the ACLU did not yet have specific concerns and was gathering information based on press reports and anecdotal evidence. “To the extent that anyone’s rights may not have been appropriately recognized, ACLU takes that seriously,” Mittman told Alaska Dispatch. He added that attorneys are awaiting further information from the municipality before taking any action.