Correction: The vote approving the new seat occurred in 2020, not 2021. Time flies!
Add another special election to the calendar. The Anchorage Municipal Clerks office has announced a special election to fill the newly created 12th Anchorage Assembly seat for June 21.
The addition of the 12th seat was approved by voters in 2020 and the seat will become the second to represent the North Anchorage assembly district, which was previously the downtown Anchorage assembly district and represented by a single member. The election will bring the area’s representation up to par with other Anchorage assembly districts, which have all had two assemblymembers.
Only residents of the expanded North Anchorage assembly district will be voting in the special election.
The North Anchorage seat was created by voters in 2020 and formally established in the city’s reapportionment process, which updated the Anchorage assembly districts to reflect population changes and to create six districts with roughly equal population. The North Anchorage district covers downtown Anchorage, South Addition, Government Hill, Mountain View, Fairview, Northstar and the northern parts of Spenard, Airport Heights, Russian Jack Park, part of East Anchorage and Midtown Anchorage.
The city’s reapportionment process is tied to the state’s redistricting process, which saw lengthy delays in large part due to the delay of the U.S. Census data. If the processes had been completed much earlier, it would have been possible for the new seat to be put up on the regular April 5 election, but the city’s reapportionment plan wasn’t formally adopted until less than two weeks before the election.
Schedule and notes
- May 10 – Candidate filing deadline (the candidate list will be available here)
- May 22 – Last day to register to vote in the special election (you can register here)
- May 31 – Ballots mailed out to qualified Anchorage voters in the North Anchorage district
- June 21 – Special election day, all ballots must be postmarked on or before this day
Drop boxes for the special election will be stationed at the City Hall parking lot, Clark Middle School, the Election Center, Fairview Community Rec Center and West High School.
Why it matters
In the big picture, the seat will likely bolster the Anchorage Assembly’s progressive numbers.
The district is currently represented by Anchorage Assemblymember Christopher Constant, who is one of the body’s more progressive members, and it’s expected that the district would elect another progressive. If that comes to pass, the Anchorage Assembly’s core of moderates and progressives would be back to nine members. The core lost one member in the spring elections when South Anchorage Assemblymember John Weddleton, a moderate, lost to conservative Randy Sulte.
Those numbers would give the Anchorage Assembly one vote to spare on overrides of far-right Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson’s vetoes as well as the power to override vetoes of emergency ordinances (as was the case with the masking mandate last year). Veto overrides require 2/3 of the Anchorage Assembly’s membership, which is eight members under both an 11- and 12-member assembly. Veto overrides of emergency measures requires 3/4, which is nine members sunder both an 11- and 12-member assembly.
Fights between the Anchorage Assembly and Mayor Bronson have been marked by several vetoes and several veto overrides, however as we learned during the recent round of budgeting the Bronson administration has ignored the Anchorage Assembly’s overrides and operated as if his vetoes remained in place.