After Anchorage Assembly member Tim Steele announced last week that he's stepping down for personal health reasons; the assembly has established a timeline in which the vacancy will be filled.

Steele's resignation became effective at Tuesday's assembly meeting. 

In April, the city held its first vote by mail election. Now, it will use the new method to conduct a special election for voters within Steele's West Anchorage district. 

According to city code, the Assembly has 60 days to do so. Members settled on Tuesday, August 7 as election day. Members also approved the following timeline:

- June 26: City Clerk will publish notice of vacancy, filing for office opens at 8 a.m.
 
- July 3: Filing for office closes at 5 p.m.
 
- July 17: Deadline for the city to send ballot packages to voters in Steele's west Anchorage District 

- July 31: Accessible vote centers open, last day for Clerk's office to accept absentee ballot applications

- August 7: Special Election, all ballot envelopes must be postmarked on or before election day or returned to a secure drop box or accessible vote center by 8 p.m.

At Tuesday's meeting, Assembly Chair Forrest Dunbar noted the timeline was slower than he would like to see, suggesting the assembly consider revising the code after the special election.

"The code to both appoint someone in the interim and to conduct this special election, is a little bit, I would say, antiquated," Dunbar said. "It was established quite a long time ago. And it doesn’t really fit the character of the city and the size and the complexity of the city right now."

As for Steele's seat in the meantime, Assembly members voted Tuesday to appoint someone to take over the position until the special election.

West Anchorage Assemblyman Eric Croft noted that he'd heard from members of community councils that it was important to them to maintain two representatives on the Assembly in the interim. 

"Nobody said 'we can’t go without representation,' but really, they understood, I think, that even though it’s summer and there’s only three meetings this person would be in this seat, there’s things like the ACDA ordinance, and liquor license that Spenard is very interested in," Croft said. 

Dunbar noted that he doesn't intend to vote for interim candidates who plan to file for the seat in the special election. 

"I think this appointment conflicts with the need to run that kind of sprint campaign that you would need to run in this election. I want someone that can drop in and serve West Anchorage but not be simultaneously running for the seat," Dunbar said. 

The City Clerk will accept applications for an interim representative to replace Steele through June 25, Assembly members will vote a replacement in on July 12. 

Information on candidates who have filed for office can be found here: muni.org/elections

Elections locations:

Municipal Clerk’s Office at City Hall
632 West 6th Avenue, Suite 250, Anchorage, AK 99501.

MOA Election Center
619 E. Ship Creek Avenue at Door D

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