Petition application to recall Anchorage Assembly member Jamie Allard approved

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 5:09 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A petition to recall Anchorage Assembly member Jamie Allard was approved Wednesday by the Anchorage Municipal Clerk’s Office.

According to the application, petitioners claim that Allard violated Emergency Order 15, which prohibited indoor gatherings of over 15 people, in August 2020. It’s a similar claim to the ones made in recall efforts against assembly members Meg Zaletel and Felix Rivera, who both defeated recalls this year.

The petition application states that Allard participated in a gathering of more than 15 people during an Anchorage Assembly meeting in August 2020, and that she continued to participate in gatherings of more than 15 people after “being specifically informed of the violation.” For these reasons, the petitioners claim Allard has failed to perform the prescribed duties of an assembly member.

“Even though the merits of recall are laughable because I was the only one who objected — on the record — to the issue they are attempting to recall me for, I believe in our democracy and the vote of the people,” Allard said via email. “The extreme partisan backers of this couldn’t even find someone in our district to sponsor it. The people from Eagle River will see through the political gamesmanship.”

The petition for recall was submitted by residents Chelsea Foster and and Kerry Brown. Alaska’s News Source reached out to both for comment but did not hear back by the time of publication.

The recall group will need to collect 2,530 signatures in order for the recall petition to go on the ballot before voters of assembly District 2, which Allard represents. That’s about 25% of the votes cast by District 2 voters during the April 7, 2020 election.

In a memo to the municipal clerk, Municipal Attorney Patrick Bergt said that the recall petition does meet statutory requirements to go forward. He noted that during the August 2020 meeting mentioned in the petition application, “Assembly Member Allard commented to the chair of the meeting that 17 people were present in the Assembly Chambers.”

Bergt also noted that the claims in this recall petition are exactly the same as those in the recall effort against Zaletel, and that the Alaska Superior Court and Alaska Supreme Court found those claims were valid for a recall.

Both Zaletel and Rivera were also accused of breaking Emergency Order 15 in 2020. Both attempts to recall them were filed by local resident Russell Biggs. The efforts found support among those who have been opposed to the city’s ongoing handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, including mitigation measures like mask requirements, which both Zaletel and Rivera supported.

Representing Eagle River, Allard has been vocal on the assembly in her opposition to many city mitigation measures when it comes to COVID-19, and often has voted against restrictions such as mask requirements or capacity limits for businesses.

Bergt wrote in his memo that the right to a recall must be liberally construed “to allow voters to be the ultimate decisionmakers.”

According to Deputy Clerk Erika McConnell, the city has about 10 years of records on petition applications for recalls, initiatives and referendums.

“None of the recall petition applications were approved and led to a recall election until this year,” she wrote in an email.

McConnell said the clerk’s office has estimated that a special election in one assembly district costs about $100,000.

All signatures for the petition against Allard must be collected by Jan. 17, 2022.

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