More Than a Week After Election, No Clear Answers
Assembly work session scheduled for Friday
ANCHORAGE - It's been more than a week since Anchorage's municipal elections, and there are still no clear answers.
Charges of voter disenfranchisement have led to a call for a special counsel to review the election results.
Tuesday night assembly members denied that request.
An assembly work session is scheduled for Friday to review election results.
Roughly 200 people have contacted the ACLU of Alaska and claimed they were denied their right to vote last week, and now both assembly members and the ACLU say they're worried about possible legal consequences.
Just a week after the polls closed on April 3, the ACLU of Alaska asked the anchorage assembly to appoint a special counsel to review the election.
The organization was armed with signed affidavits from registered voters affirming they were unable to cast a ballot, but late tuesday night, assembly members voted against an independent investigation.
Assembly Chairwoman Debbie Ossiander said she's waiting for the municipal attorney to assess the situation before moving forward with outside counsel, but others say the clock is ticking.
"It's inappropriate, and we need to move on this pretty quick. I believe that if we don't do something very soon, we are going to have some very serious lawsuits," said Midtown Assemblywoman Elvi Gray-Jackson.
The ACLU of Alaska says it's still working to measure the scope of disenfranchisement, and would not comment on whether it plans on taking the municipality to court.
But Gray-Jackson has other legal issues on her mind: a newsletter distributed by "Protect Your Rights," a local group that campaigned against the proposed gay and transgender equal rights ordinance, falsely informed people they would be able to register to vote on election day.
Gray-Jackson says Jim Minnery, president of the Alaska Family Council and one of the main figures behind "Protect Your Rights," should also be taken to court.
"I definitely think that he should face some legal repercussions because he tampered with an election. Last I knew, that was illegal. And there's proof that he tampered with the election," she said.
But until there's a final ballot count, the legal questions will go unanswered.
Minnery has previously said his election email was the result of a miscommunication with the municipal clerk's office, but he could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, a public canvass previously scheduled for today has been postponed until Friday.