ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A petition to recall the chair of the Anchorage Assembly for failing to cancel an August meeting because of pandemic emergency regulations is scheduled be put to district voters on the April ballot.

The petition to recall chair Felix Rivera was certified by the city clerk Friday, Anchorage Daily News reported.

The petition included the required 2,735 signatures of voters from Anchorage’s District 4, the clerk’s office said in a letter to sponsor Russell Biggs.

The required number is 25% of the votes cast for the seat in the April 2020 election during which Rivera was elected.

The decision on the recall petition can be appealed to Alaska Superior Court, the letter said.

The certified petition is expected to be presented to the Anchorage Assembly at its Jan. 26 meeting.


The next regular election is April 6, which is within the 75-day window required to hold a recall vote following the assembly’s receipt of the petition.

The petition claims Rivera failed to perform his duties as chair when he did not halt an August assembly meeting after another member said the gathering may have exceeded capacity restrictions under a pandemic emergency order.

Rivera maintains the recall is “frivolous” and said he believes the attempt will die in court.

“I remain confident that it’s not even going to get on the ballot, but we will see,” Rivera said.

A group supporting Rivera plans to file a lawsuit against the Municipality of Anchorage and Municipal Clerk Barbara Jones for approving the petition.

The recall effort has support among a group of residents upset with the assembly’s recent actions involving pandemic management — including its backing of the acting mayor’s emergency orders and a vote to approve purchases of buildings for homeless and treatment services.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.