Municipal election certified; mayoral candidates head for runoff

Anchorage mayoral candidates Forrest Dunbar (left) and Dave Bronson (right).
Anchorage mayoral candidates Forrest Dunbar (left) and Dave Bronson (right).(Photo courtesy the campaigns of Forrest Dunbar and Dave Bronson.)
Published: Apr. 20, 2021 at 8:20 PM AKDT|Updated: Apr. 21, 2021 at 6:53 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Anchorage Assembly has unanimously certified the April 6 municipal election.

The assembly voted in a special meeting Tuesday evening to certify the election. Members also passed a resolution recognizing and congratulating election workers for managing the election.

Now that the election is certified, the runoff election in the race for Anchorage mayor is now official. That election will take place May 11 and will be a combination of mail-in voting and limited in-person voting.

The most recently updated election results from Monday show candidate Dave Bronson with 33% of the vote compared to Forrest Dunbar’s 31%. One of them would have needed to get more than 45% of the total vote to avoid the runoff.

With the certification of the April 6 election, another race is likely headed for an automatic recount. Election results show that candidate Kelly Lessens won election to seat B of the Anchorage School Board with 25,327 votes to Judy Eledge’s 25,092 votes. That’s a margin of only 0.36%, and Anchorage municipal code states that a recount is required for any race where a candidate wins by a margin of less than 0.5%.

The code states that the municipal clerk shall initiate a recount within seven days of the election commission’s report being adopted.

Assembly members and city officials addressed what certification of the election actually means. Assembly Counsel Dean Gates said it means that the assembly has determined, based on the report of the municipality’s election commission, that the election was validly held and that it was held in compliance with law. Gates said it means the assembly finds there were no corrupt practices that were sufficient enough to change the outcome of any of the results.

“The municipal clerk, in the report, and the election commission report, they didn’t find any discrepancies in the returns, “Gates said. “And that the election was validly held in compliance with code.”

The certification means that race results are now official, but they are still subject to any recounts or election contests that might be filed. Beyond automatic recounts that are provided for in city code, a defeated candidate or 10 qualified voters can also request one within seven days of the election being certified. The results of any recounts or election contests also go back before the assembly for final certification.

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Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct the title of Assembly Counsel Dean Gates.