Anchorage Assembly set to certify results of Meg Zaletel recall election

Midtown Anchorage representative holding onto her seat by a wide margin
Ballots are counted during the Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021 special election in the effort to recall...
Ballots are counted during the Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021 special election in the effort to recall Anchorage Assembly member Meg Zaletel.(Connor Matteson/Alaska's News Source)
Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 9:31 PM AKST|Updated: Nov. 9, 2021 at 2:10 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - On Tuesday, the Anchorage Assembly is scheduled to certify the results of the recent special election held to decide the question of whether to recall member Meg Zaletel, who, preliminary results show, is holding onto her seat as a representative for Midtown Anchorage.

Election Day for the recall effort was Oct. 26, during which registered voters in the city’s District 4 could cast their votes at drop boxes around Anchorage or in-person at the city’s election center. Mailed-in ballots, however, were still counted as long as they were postmarked by Oct. 26 and arrived by Monday. Overseas and military ballots had until noon on Tuesday to arrive and still be counted.

The assembly is set to vote to certify the results of the election at its Tuesday night meeting. Unofficial results released multiple times a week by the Municipal Clerk’s office have continued to show Zaletel beating the recall effort and retaining her seat by a wide margin.

Updated preliminary results released Monday showed 59.9% of voters rejecting the recall, and just over 40% of them voting in favor of it. Those updated results show 10,813 ballots cast that have been tallied so far, which is about 25.4% turnout of all registered voters in the Midtown district.

The margin by which Zaletel is defeating the recall has narrowed only slightly since the first round of preliminary results were released the night of the election. They showed 38.8% of voters in favor of the recall and 61.1% against it.

Zaletel told Alaska’s News Source the night of the election that she hoped “this puts the distraction behind us and I can continue to do the important work of representing Midtown.” She initially faced two recall petitions filed by Anchorage resident Russell Biggs. After both were rejected by the Municipal Clerk’s Office, a series challenges in the Alaska Court System occurred and eventually one of the two petitions was allowed to move forward.

In the petition, Biggs had claimed that Zaletel “committed misconduct in office” in August 2020, and claimed she violated a previous city emergency order by participating in “an indoor gathering of more than 15 people at a meeting of the Anchorage Assembly.” The recall attempt was very similar to the attempted recall of Zaletel’s fellow Midtown representative on the assembly, Felix Rivera, which failed in the municipal election this April.

Both recall efforts have been centered around the city’s efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including with mitigation measures such as masking, which Zaletel has supported.

The assembly will vote on whether to certify the election results at its regular meeting starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Loussac Library.

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