With Anchorage election results certified, runoff for mayor officially begins

Apr. 24—The Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday certified the results of the April regular city election, officially setting off the final leg of the race for mayor.

Incumbent Mayor Dave Bronson, who is running for a second term, and challenger Suzanne LaFrance, the Assembly's former chair, are vying for the city's top elected office. Runoff election ballots will be mailed to voters on April 30, and the final day to vote is May 14, according to the city election calendar.

Because none of the 10 candidates for mayor in the regular election reached the 45% threshold necessary to win outright, Bronson and LaFrance, as the top two vote-getters, are advancing to the runoff. LaFrance received 36.2% of the vote and Bronson 35.6%, according to the official regular election results.

During Tuesday night's Assembly meeting, Mark Littlefield was sworn into office to represent District 2, Eagle River/Chugiak, after winning his Anchorage Assembly race unopposed. Littlefield replaces former member Kevin Cross, who resigned two years into a three-year term.

The city saw a voter turnout of 30.4% in April, with a total of 72,250 ballots cast. That's lower than the last two regular mayoral elections, but it's still several percentage points higher than city elections held during years leading up to the city's 2018 switch to a vote-by-mail system. Anchorage moved to the vote-by-mail system in an effort to encourage higher turnout.

Anchorage's election commission rejected an additional 1,087 ballots for a variety of reasons, including 602 ballot packages with signatures that election workers could not verify and 269 ballot packages postmarked after April 2, election day.

In the upcoming runoff, ballots returned by mail must be postmarked on or before May 14 to be counted.

To ensure their runoff ballots are counted, voters who return their ballot by mail on the day of May 14 or on the day before should ask a postal worker to "hand cancel" or hand-stamp their ballot package.

Anchorage's three vote centers are scheduled to open May 7 for in-person voting. After ballot packages are mailed out, voters can also return ballots to the 18 secure drop boxes across the municipality.

Voters who will be traveling during the runoff can apply with the municipal clerk's office to vote at a temporary address. The deadline to apply is May 7, and voters can also apply to vote by fax or email.