Randy Ruedrich: This election is in the books



The Anchorage Election Commission completed the 2021 Mayoral Runoff Election Canvas at 11:36 pm on Friday, May 22.

The runoff election generated 90,720 ballots, with Dave Bronson receiving 45,889 votes or 50.66% of the vote.  

Runoff voter turnout increased 15,279 from the regular election on April 6 to 38.31% of eligible voters, the highest municipal election participation ever.

More than 6,800 regular election voters did not participate in the runoff election. However, 22,000 people who did not vote in the regular election voted in the runoff election.

The Anchorage Election Commission’s canvass confirmed that 1,691 ballot envelopes should not be counted.  But 98.2% of the runoff election envelopes were opened and the ballots inside them were counted. 

What are the compliance defects for these 1,691 envelopes?    

The most fixable group are the 240 envelopes postmarked after Election Day.  

The Muni Clerk, the Mayoral Campaigns, MRAK and others encouraged voters to mail earlier. But 342 envelopes were late in the 2021 Regular Election.  Our runoff voters have an apparent 30% reduction in late ballot envelopes compared the April Muni Regular Election.  When the calculation includes the increased runoff turnout, the reduction in late ballot envelopes is 41.6%.  Let’s claim real progress on the procrastination problem.    

1,052 rejected ballot envelope signatures did not match their state reference signatures. The Clerk’s office sent these voters a “cure” letter requesting another signature. The mayoral campaigns urged their identified voters to complete and return their cure letters.  The Clerks’ office and Muni voters cured  1229 ballot envelopes. The 54% cure rate should be a new standard to beat.   These remaining  1052 voters did not respond.  Moral: No Signature match, then the ballot is not counted.

More complex rejections are the 61 unsigned ballot envelopes. There is no voter privacy issue here; a ballot envelope is opened and the secrecy sleeve with its ballot are removed.  The empty envelopes are bundled and saved. The ballots are removed from their secrecy sleeve and flattened for scanning. 

The problem for these 61 unsigned ballot envelopes is that their voters did not respond to their cure letters, which required signing an affidavit affirming that the envelope contains that voter’s ballot. Moral: No signature, then the ballot is not counted.

Another 120 voters submitted their 2021 Regular Election Ballots after the regular election was over and the 2021 Runoff Ballots were already distributed. 

A troubling reject group are the 44 voters who cast two ballot envelopes.  These envelopes will be forwarded to the District Attorney.  

The remaining 174 rejected envelopes have technical issues:  Not registered within Anchorage Municipality, registered after the deadline, no signature on file, not returned in proper envelope and other minor compliance errors. 

The 2021 Muni Election is in the books.

Randy Ruedrich is a former chairman of the Alaska Republican Party and is an elections expert.    


  1. What no fraud, no if I lose the election was rigged. Recount the ballots two or three more times, oh yeah the Republican won so election are only rigged if Republicans lose.

  2. I hate dealing with the municipality. The state election office is better. Remove that task from the municipality. Delegate it to the state. They are in town. Arms length may be the better way to go.

  3. And these questionable practices could be ‘cured’ by returning to in person voting as it was meant to be.

  4. “1,052 rejected ballot envelope signatures did not match their state reference signatures. The Clerk’s office sent these voters a “cure” letter requesting another signature. The mayoral campaigns urged their identified voters to complete and return their cure letters. These 1,052 voters did not respond.”

    1,052 out of 1,052 not responding is a statistical impossibility. Only conclusion one can make is that none of the 1,052 ever existed.

  5. Too much waste of paper and too many errors for a small town of 280,000+. Mail in ballots is a waste of time and money. In person voting there are less problems.

  6. @Harbor guy

    You guys cried, with no evidence, that the 2016 election was stolen. I get it you can’t see the folly in your logic but you really have no leg to stand on.

  7. And, guess what goes away if we ditch mail in voting? Pretty much everything noted in this column.
    Want secure elections? Vote in person, unless you have a valid reason to request an absentee ballot. Show a valid photo ID. Minimize early voting.
    Oh, I know. Voter suppression! GASP! The HORRORS!. No, it is not. If you cannot find a way to get to the polls on election day, you are obviously not interested enough in elections to make it happen. Yes, mail in voting increases the number of ballots received, but are those the votes of informed voters, or someone just filling it in to fill it in?
    When uninformed voters vote en masse, we all suffer.

  8. @HarborGuy:
    “…oh yeah the Republican won so election are only rigged if Republicans lose.”
    If Forrest Dunbar saw something odd during this election, he can, and should call for an investigation. Even though I am happy with the results, if there is election fraud happening, it MUST be stopped. If that means the candidate I am supporting loses, so be it. As long as the election is clean.
    Oh… and notice the difference between what I just wrote, and the attitude of everyone who is glad Biden won the 2020 Presidential election. Unlike a lot of folks on the left side of the political aisle, I am willing to take the chance my preferred candidate may end up losing in order to ensure fair elections.
    Please do the same.

  9. Yes all of this bull crap would not be happening, if we had regular elections, showing up at the polls to case your vote with an ID yes an IDENTIFICATION ( a card giving identifying data about a person, as full name, address, age, and color of hair and eyes and often containing a photograph: for use as identification at a place of employment, school, club, and Yes at the voting polls, etc.)

    Those 1052 cure letters were not real people. I would bet that everyone one of those cure votes went for Dunbar, more statistical impossibility
    STOP THE MAIL IN VOTING. Get off your A and get out to vote, you lazy people. Wait the cheating people, who can’t vote at the regular polling places, because it’s unsafe. Get a life

  10. josephdj, I was just about to comment on the exact same thing when I saw your entry. They didn’t respond because there was no one to respond. And I would be very interested to see how all 1,052 of those ballots voted.

    And Harbor Guy, there was fraud in this election as their own numbers prove. Barb didn’t want people looking with binoculars after she moved them out of clear view of the counting. BOTH candidates have every right to have observers there while ballots are being counted so all parties involved have faith in the electoral outcome. All parties for all elections, not just the run-off. School Board candidates should have that same option. And no counting should take place without those observers present unless the campaigns specifically opt out of the process.

    There were boxes of blank ballots deposited into the same room where counting was taking place. There was no legitimate reason for those ballots to be there unless they planned to use them. That decision alone casts doubt on the electoral process and the integrity of the entire staff of the Muni’s Division of Elections. The reason the observers for Bronson were so dogged in observing the counting process was because of the shenanigans (blank ballots, bogus fire alarms, etc.) and because Barb herself acted in a suspicious manner. Her complaint about the binoculars alone was enough to raise suspicion. Bronson’s approach is, I believe, the only reason he actually won. Otherwise, this municipal clerk would do what she did in the General to keep Rivera in his place. I do not believe he beat that recall legitimately. She works for them. She has a vested interest in keep them happy especially considering the majority of our Assembly is indeed leftist. He job should eliminated and brought back as an at-will employee. She needs to go, one way or another. I believe her actions during this run off point to patterns of behaviour that prove she is unfit for this job.

  11. The gallant Constant giving a large bouquet during the counting phase is questionable. Barb working around the clock, still is, where is the balance. Turn the lights on. Remember this is Podunk Ak.

  12. To Randy Ruedrich may we ask what the GOP might have planned for getting rid of Anchorage’s easily corruptible mail-in ballot scheme, restoring traditional balloting, restoring traditional ballot counting, and electing the Municipal Clerk.
    Looks at best like major conflict of interest when an Assemblyman runs for mayor while the Clerk, who works for the Assembly, counts the votes…
    Electing the Municipal Clerk and formalizing criteria for recusal might solve the problem or at least reduce what seems to be obvious potential for election fraud.

  13. Let’s get back to in person voting. No way anyone will every trust a computer to vote. 2 pieces picture I’d and paper ballot. In fact I don’t want a computer even counting my vote.

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