Anchorage Municipal Clerk Barbara Jones said to an Assembly committee last week that she will be asking the Assembly to give her a third week for counting of ballots in future elections.
Jones was giving the Assembly committee a report on the recent mail-in elections, and said that counting and verifying all the ballots is too much to get done in just two weeks.
“On canvass day, you saw it is chaotic,” she said. “We are counting every single ballot. Counting and counting and counting again. It is a lot to do in two weeks. We’re going to be asking the Assembly, next year [for a code change] to make the public session of canvass … three weeks after the election.”
That would push the Assembly vote certifying the results to the fourth week after the election.
Before the municipality moved to all-mail-in elections in 2018, most elections were decided the night of Election Day.
How that extra week of counting will work in runoff campaigns in future mayoral elections is something the Assembly will need to consider. If the candidates going forward to a runoff don’t get the results for a month, it gives them little time to run a campaign.
For example, in the case of the most recent mayoral runoff, the election ended April 6, and the results weren’t certified until April 20. Ballots for the runoff went in the mail on April 22. The extension of that to April 27 certification for a May 11 runoff would mean the ballots wouldn’t be in the mail until April 28 at the earliest.