League of Women Voters says ‘no’ to special election for Anchorage acting mayor



The Anchorage chapter of the Alaska League of Women Voters has put the Anchorage Assembly on notice that the group is against a special election for acting Anchorage mayor.

In a letter to the Assembly, the League said a special election is simply not in the best interests of the voters.

The Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday will be taking up a proposal to hold a special election in January, as the winner of the regular April 6 election is not seated until July 1.

A second competing proposal would have the winner of the April 6 election be sworn in as soon as any runoff election is completed, and would leave Austin Quinn-Davidson in as acting mayor until then.

The entire exercise is being discussed after the hasty departure of the previous mayor, Ethan Berkowitz, who had been caught having an inappropriate relationship with a member of the press.

The agenda for the Anchorage Assembly meeting, which begins at 5 pm, is at this link.

“As the League of Women Voters of Anchorage, part of our mission is registering voters and providing voters with election information through voter guides as well as candidate forums and debates.  Given the brief amount of time available, the significant effort involved, the upcoming holiday season, the pandemic, and the hundreds of thousands of dollars it takes to conduct a municipal election, it is not in the best interest of voters to hold a special election to elect another interim mayor between now and the next municipal election in April 2021,” the group wrote to the Assembly.

“Our municipal charter addresses a mayoral vacancy and the emergency procedures for such a vacancy have been implemented.  Clear timelines are outlined in the law.  In addition, the charter also allows our city leaders to make some common sense decisions regarding timing, which is what we strongly urge at this time,” the league wrote, saying voters will not have time to be informed in a January special election, which according to charter, would need to occur after Jan. 21, 2021.

“Working backward from that day, ballot packets in our city which uses the vote-by-mail method, must be mailed 21 days in advance which is New Year’s Day. New voters can register up to 30 days in advance of the election which would make the deadline December 23. People who have moved must also update their registration by that date. The trouble is, by then most people will be focused on family, handling pandemic holidays and certainly not thinking about an election at all,” the League wrote, noting that if a candidate does not get 45 percent of the vote, a runoff would need to be held.

Assembly member Jamie Allard from Eagle River responded to the League, which has typically been in favor of elections:

“I’m not surprised on your stand for not wanting the voters to be represented,” she wrote, reminding the League that women fought long and hard for the right to vote “and you want to encourage the Acting Mayor and the Assembly to violate the Charter and not allow the people to vote in a special election?  After not speaking up in regards to the attacks on Ms. Leighan Gonzales, LWV is a complete disappointment.  You have a clear agenda and it’s not to stand with women voters.”


  1. I guess Jamie Allard put it about as well and can be said….What the heck is wrong with just following the law…except this assembly has found that a very hard thing to do and their first reaction seems to be to make their own law….and the existing law and people be darned.

  2. Because who cares what the Anchorage city charter specifies in the event that an acting mayor steps down; we have someone in office who fits our agenda, so we’ll make up new rules as we go along!

    Does rule of law mean nothing anymore?

  3. I think their name would be more appropriately, ‘League of Women Leftists’. The longer citizens are denied the right to vote on their own top municipal official, the more chance of plunging Anchorage further into the abyss of leftism, especially with the unelected (as mayor) “chosen one”, Quinn-Davidson at the helm.
    Go get ’em, Anchorage. Show them Alaskans aren’t pushovers. Citizens have voices too. You have proven that. I am proud of you.

  4. There was a time when The League of Women Voters took no sides and was a neutral source for voting information. That time has passed as the organization has been taken over by liberal activists.

  5. The league of women voters? Is that like Betty Crocker saying don’t bother voting, she has it under control? How important is a women’s coffee klatch anyway?

  6. I love it when other people decide what’s in my best interest in regards to my vote or my ability to vote.

  7. It appears that the LWV thinks that following the Municipal Charter is optional. Just curious — Are there other Charter provisions that are optional? Maybe the LWV thinks that elections themselves are optional? It is very hard to take this self-appointed interest group seriously.

  8. I thought the charter reads”shall” which means must. Does the League of Women Voters recommend trumping the charter? How would not following the charter survive a court challenge?

  9. Almost 30 years ago, during a close local election, a ruthless union boss told me, “Nothing to worry about, the League of Women Voters are counting the ballots”. I wasn’t particularily political at the time, but his expression was dead serious. I do not know if they counted the ballots at the time or not, but another union member said they would put a piece of pencil lead under their fingernail and “double mark” the ballot of the candidate they wanted to lose thereby making that ballot ineligible. As dirty as politics seems to be and the fact that every organizations can have crooked members I have no doubt this could be factual. Their words and my thoughts have nothing to do with the current League of Women Voters.

  10. It is absolute cr– to allow an unelected mayor to stay in office for 8 months. The special election should be held, so the voters decide who our mayor is, not the assembly oligarchy that has decimated our city.

    • The other proposal before the Assembly would have a new mayor seated after the regular April election is certified. In the likely event of a runoff, that would be mid to late May, which would cut the interim mayor’s term to 6.5 months. State law for first class cities and the Fairbanks city charter both allow for an interim mayor to serve for 6 months. You really want to spend $600K+ when you can get pretty close for free? By the way, who can say that the winner of the special will win the general? Then we end up with a 105 day mayor and possibly the headache of another two changes in administration.

      • Liberal Attorney,
        In your view, do the other options follow the letter of the law as written in our Charter?

      • Berkowitz, who’s lack of moral integrity caused the city of Anchorage to be in this position, ought to foot the bill for the special election.

  11. Voters, not left-leaning assembly members, should decide if we are to continue electing dolts with policies that encourage crime, excessive drug use, sprawling homeless camps, nonsensical woke policies, half-assed public education and irresponsible fiscal behavior. We need a responsible adult in the mayor’s seat who will allow cops to enforce laws and promote public safety, who will push patriotism, athletics, practicality and academic fundamentals in our kids’ schools, and keep the city operating within a budget.

  12. Who cares what they think. Follow the law or change it. Take the money for the election out of the building purchases.

  13. The Anchorage charter says the words “shall” have an election for a new mayor within 90 days. It does not say “can be decided by the assembly”. The people of anchorage have to follow the law and the rules of the Anchorage municipalities charter, SO DOES THE ASSEMBLY.

  14. Gut instinct taps me on the shoulder:
    They’ll be looking for ‘legal’ ways around ‘shall’. Just like they did with using the CV fed money to purchase Anchorage homeless shelters. Having it on a assembly meeting ‘agenda’ is show, their true agenda has been shown.

  15. This is the applicable Anchorage Charter provision in Section 7.02: A vacancy in the office of mayor shall be filled at a regular or special election held not less than 90 days from the time the vacancy occurs. If less than 90 days remain in the term when the vacancy occurs, the vacancy shall not be filled. When a vacancy occurs in the office of mayor, the chair of the assembly shall serve as acting mayor until a successor is elected and takes office.

    There is no requirement for a special election. At best, there is a requirement for AN election. So the Assembly gets to make choice and one of those choices includes not wasting $600,000 plus on having a different mayor for about 106 days under the schedule proposed by Allard, Kennedy, and Perez-Verdia (most of which is governed by state law and city code). The other proposal on the table is to have the winner of the April general election take office when the election is certified rather than on July 1. That’s a reasonable and lawful compromise that saves a pile of money and gets an elected mayor earlier without subjecting the city to five elections in 7 months and two more transitions in administration.

  16. Since when did this League of Women Voters get appointed to speak for us voters? They speak for themselves so they need to shut up about “it is not in the best interest of voters”, we can speak for ourselves.

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