Two former lieutenant governors — Mead Treadwell and Loren Leman — were confirmed by the Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday. But one person, who has called out the municipal clerk for being deceitful on Election Night last year, was voted down, 7-4.
Assembly Vice Chair Chris Constant tried to delay the confirmation of Treadwell and Leman, but finally made the political calculation that two Alaskans who had run the state Division of Elections were probably not ones to mess with for confirmation to a local election commission; the optics would have been difficult for Constant to explain.
Then it came to Bee Hanson, the third appointee by the mayor to the Election Commission. Hanson was asked by Assemblyman Forrest Dunbar to explain why she had said in previous commentaries that Municipal Clerk Barbara Jones, who is in charge of elections, had lied to her.
Hanson was one of the observers on Election Night during the mayoral runoff in 2021, on behalf of the Dave Bronson campaign. Hanson explained to Dunbar and the Assembly that she and other election observers had been advised by Jones on that night that work was done for the night and everyone was going home.
Hanson and the other observers left the Election building at Ship Creek, as instructed by Jones. Hanson then spoke to a person on the Bronson campaign who had decided to do a late-night drive by of the Election Office to see if, in fact, everyone was gone. That person, Bernadette Wilson, noted people working inside the building and a person opening an unsecured door to the building.
At that point, explained Hanson, she decided to go back to the Election Office and, upon arriving she saw that election workers were leaving the parking lot in their cars. One of them rolled down her window of her car and asked Hanson what she was doing back at the Election Office. Hanson replied that she had the same question of the election workers, since all the observers had been told the workers were heading home 40 minutes prior.
The description Hanson gave the Assembly was exactly how it happened on Election night, and can be corroborated by witnesses.
Hanson had arrived at the after-election party for Mayor Bronson at an event center, and told people there that Barb Jones had sent the observers home. Must Read Alaska’s Suzanne Downing was talking to Hanson when she got the call from Bernadette Wilson, who had driven back to the Election building to double check that it was really shut down for the night. Wilson called from the parking lot of that building and described she could see workers continuing to work in the building.
Hanson, who was shocked that people were still working in the building, left Downing’s office and returned to the election office. There were multiple witnesses to these events.
Watch the Wilson video here.https://fb.watch/aveXH59kdl/
The event was recorded and posted on the Must Read Alaska Facebook page the next day with the following account:
“How secure are Anchorage Elections? In this video by a citizen monitor, a woman approaches the Election Office in Anchorage on Election night, Tuesday, May 11, at 10:58 pm and opens the door, and appears to look or speak to people inside. In an earlier video she has a parcel of some sort nearby and under her arm. In this clip, she leaves. An election worker then comes to the door once, and then again and appears to set the lock. This was after all observers had been sent home and told there was no more work being done at the Election Office on Election night, clearly not the case. For this reason and others, the Bronson for Mayor team has taken a recreational vehicle to the Election Office parking lot to keep a closer eye on what is going on with the counting of ballots in the mayor’s election, and they are staying there 24-7 in shifts.”
After that incident, the Bronson campaign brought in a recreational vehicle and kept it in the parking lot in order to keep closer tabs on the comings and goings at the building.
Hanson, in her testimony Tuesday, also detailed other irregularities she witnessed at the Election Office.
She was voted down by the Assembly on Tuesday as not qualified to be a member of the Election Commission.
The takeaway is that if you challenge the Municipal Clerk, you need not apply for the Election Commission, said a member of the Bronson Administration.