ACLU of AK pressures State: Drop witness rule on absentee ballots or we'll sue - Must Read Alaska
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Saturday, September 25, 2021
HomePoliticsACLU of AK pressures State: Drop witness rule on absentee ballots or we’ll sue

ACLU of AK pressures State: Drop witness rule on absentee ballots or we’ll sue

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The ACLU of Alaska and associated groups are threatening to sue the Lt. Governor and the Division of Elections because the groups say people should not have to have their absentee ballot signatures witnessed.

If Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer actually waived the witnessing requirement, he would be breaking Alaska Statute.

But the groups are peeved because Democrats made a big effort to get out the absentee Democrat vote, and more than 10 percent of the extra votes they can rightfully take credit for — some 1,200 votes — were thrown out because the voters didn’t follow directions and have their ballots witnessed.

“The ACLU of Alaska, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the Native American Rights Fund call upon Alaska’s Lt. Governor, Kevin Meyer, to remove an unnecessary voting barrier facing Alaskans in the November General Election,” the group wrote to the lieutenant governor on Monday. The groups say the law “disenfranchises many voters who would have to choose between their health and their vote if the rule continues to be upheld.”

Alaska is one of 11 states that requires a witness to verify that the person signing the ballot is really the voter. It’s a loose requirement that provides a modicum of election security. Alaska is a “no excuse” voting state already, with some of the most liberal absentee ballot rules around — any registered voter can vote one, even if they are not technically absent from their district. It’s Alaska’s functional mail-in ballot, but it has that one requirement: Did someone else see you sign that ballot?

Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer wrote a letter back to the consortium: “I am sure you would agree that election integrity begins with following the law. If an election is not conducted legally by following the statutes duly passed by the legislature, there can be no basis to believe in the election’s integrity. Making exceptions to the statutes, even on a piecemeal basis, would erode the foundation upon which Alaskans have built their faith in the election process.”

Meyer went on to say the Office of Lt. Governor lacks the power to unilaterally waive the statutory witness requirement.

“The witness requirement is central to the absentee ballot statutory scheme and is not a mere procedural requirement. AS 15.20.081(d) sets forth the witness requirement, and AS 15.20.203(b)(2) mandates that an absentee ballot be rejected and not counted if it is not properly witnessed. 

“If my office were to ignore this clear statutory language and count ballots that were not properly witnessed, those absentee ballots could later be invalidated in a court challenge. It would be irresponsible for me to tell voters not to follow the witness requirement and risk their votes not counting.

“Like you, I care deeply about every Alaskan’s safety during this pandemic, and we have learned a lot over these past several months about how to best prevent spreading the virus. Just like going to the grocery store or receiving deliveries at your home, maintaining a social distance of six feet and wearing masks goes a long way and both of these can be accomplished for witnessing a ballot. Witnessing could also take place through a window if necessary. Although not ideal, we are all having to change the way we do things, and I would encourage voters to think creatively about how to fulfill this requirement in a safe manner.”

The group had demanded a response from the lieutenant governor by Friday, and received the response in the afternoon that day.

“We are prepared to use every tool in our arsenal to beat back unnecessary barriers to absentee voting faced by voters in Alaska, including restrictive witness requirements,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. 

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • This is the left doing all they can to subvert the election of people that have conservative values.

    • I believe that the ACLU is a root of all liberal agenda advancement. Give them an inch and they take a mile! This voting issue is such a pile of dung, voter suppression my behind, photo ID, and supporting qualifiers should be absolute requirements to participate in our elections. If a person can’t put that much effort into identifying themselves, they should not be allowed to voice an opinion much less cast a vote!

  • Huh. They must be doing this because the witness requirement makes it more difficult for the dead to vote.

    • Ouch! ???

    • You’re dead right on that one! (Pun intended).

  • They have no issues with which they can win with so they will try every underhanded and illegal. if necessary, to control the vote….They have no interest in educating the voters only controlling the vote!!!

  • People who can’t figure this out are suckers and losers. The solution is so easy and obvious. Just write in the witnesses name. I do it all the time with my children’s PFD checks. I do it with any form that requires my wife’s signature, such as tax returns. Nobody checks to find out if signatures are legitimate. Also, be sure and vote different ways, including mail, absentee and in person. Don’t let the democrats steal the election from President Trump, because he supports the vets and the military.

  • WHAT? Proof of voter identification and proof of signature is a violation of a civil right? What NONSENSE!
    The rule is: to provide further assurances that election fraud is guarded against. And the underlying principle for this is to protect freedom and democracy from being subverted by unsavory forces who are the enemy of the state.
    Plain and simply put, the ACLU seeks the least protections and least civil rights for the legitimate electorate, who are the qualified voters. Those who are unqualified to vote, must not vote in our elections until they become qualified per well established rules.

    • The left seeks only power for powers sake. To think they are guided by some other underlying principle is to fundamentally misunderstand who and what they are. Power acquisition IS the ONLY principle- underlying or otherwise. If you are still puzzled by these sorts of subversions of the electoral system you do not know who it is that is fighting you, or even that you are at war.

  • If this was such a horrible law to begin with, then why did the ACLU not tackle this sooner? No, I’m sure I’m not surprising many when I say that the ACLU has an agenda, and it’s NOT fair elections.

    • It’s also not civil liberty, well, not protecting it any.

  • When all else fails, SUE! Everyone knows 1 person that knows how to spell their name.

  • The dead can use another dead person as a witness.

  • State Law is State Law shove it ACLU

  • If the ACLU thought they could win, they would have already sued. What they are doing now is the equivalent of bluffing in poker.

  • Sore losers and they wonder why voter turnout is low……

  • Today my son’s friend who lives in Alabama (and has never been to Alaska) had a banner pop up on her Facebook app “Request a Ballot for Alaska Now” with links to “Request Ballot”, “Register to vote” and “Change state”.

  • The Alaskan ACLU is a toothless predator. They awarded a scholarship to a former Alaskan educator who was let go by the Anchorage School district, and allegedly taped a person to a chair who was misbehaving. She also plead no contest to child abuse. Now she’s in law school. This is the kind of person that the Alaskan ACLU promotes so in my opinion they have no credence.

  • American Criminal Liberties Union… they hate hard working, law abiding Americans and will pull out all the stops to cheat, lie, and steal an election. Yes, they want dead people to vote, those with arrest warrants who don’t dare venture into a polling place, folks with multiple names, illegals, and those underaged.

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