Angoon calls for new election

City throws out contested results of the Oct. 2 poll

Posted: Thursday, November 01, 2007

Weeks behind schedule, the Angoon City Council met Tuesday to certify results from the Oct. 2 city election. Instead it nullified the election and called for a new one.

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"There were too many questions," council member Lillian Woodbury said.

For weeks, questions of process and propriety surrounded the race for three city council seats after a slate of write-in candidates made a strong showing at the polls in the Admiralty Island village, 60 miles west of Juneau.

"This is good for Angoon," said Maxine Thompson, former mayor and city council candidate.

Angoon's municipal code required that the council certify the election by noon Oct. 8. The council failed to get a quorum of four members to begin the certification process until Tuesday.

The election was then contested because of electioneering accusations. As a result the council called for a new election.

"It was a pretty heated meeting," Woodbury said.

Earlier in the month, Thompson joined two other declared candidates, Dan Johnson Jr. and Pauline Jim, in sending a letter to the state director of elections seeking help with the uncertified election.

The trio claimed that the election process was corrupted when sample ballots appeared at polling sites with write-in candidates included. An additional letter alleged that write-in candidate Lenora Walker, joined by a supporter, stood outside a polling place speaking to voters and escorting them to the door.

"The election has indeed been affected by the illegal campaigning that occurred," the letter said.

Walker won council Seat B by nearly 23 percent over Johnson in the unofficial results. Write-in candidate Harriet Silva tied Jim for Seat C.

Walker said she was floored by the accusation of electioneering and denied it.

"I know that asking for a vote is illegal," she said.

Regardless of the accusations, Walker said she likes the idea of a new election. With untainted results there will be no question who should sit on the council, she said.

"I ran as a write-in before and I'll run as one again," she said.

No date is set for the new election, but Bill Rolfzen, government specialist for the state, said the election might fall on Nov. 19 or 26. Law requires 20 days of notice before any election, he said.

Thompson said Angoon has asked for a government specialist to monitor Angoon's next election.

"We need to find a neutral person to run the election," she said.

The state can advise Angoon how to run a clean election, but Rolfzen said running a city election is the clerk's job.



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