Alaska Senate Democrats furious over rejected ballots


Alaska Senate Democrats have sent a letter to the Division of Elections and the lieutenant governor demanding answers for the very high rejection rates of mail-in ballots in the special primary election for the United States Congress. 

According to Division of Elections data, one area of Alaska had more than 17% of all ballots received so far rejected. Reasons for being rejected include not having a signature or voting more than once.

The Division of Elections showed a 9% rejection rate in the Mountain View neighborhood of Anchorage, and 15.2% and 17.4% rejection rates respectively in the rural areas of Bering Straits/Yukon Delta and Bethel/Lower Kuskokwim.

“This incredible rate of ballots being thrown out in Alaska’s first mail-in election is absolutely unacceptable,” said Sen. Bill Wielechowski.

Democrat candidates received less than 15% of the overall vote in the special primary, something about which the Alaska Democratic Party has to be concerned.

“These numbers, if verified, mean Alaska Natives and other minorities and residents from less affluent areas have been denied their right to vote. Vote by mail works, but only if implemented so that all citizens have a chance for their vote to be counted,” said Senate Minority Leader Tom Begich (D-Anchorage).

In the 2020 primary, 1,240 ballots were rejected out of 62,455 mail-in votes cast. That was a rejection rate of 2%. But it appears that the Democrats are queuing up for a lawsuit over the election, which was held as mail-in only.

But the rejection rate in Bush Alaska is similar to what it has been in the past, according to election experts.

“Every Alaskan, who is registered to vote, deserves to participate in our elections and their votes must be counted. While the Division of Elections has done a good job running our elections in the past, Alaskans need to know why so many ballots were discarded in our first, statewide by-mail election in this June election. We need answers now so Alaskans can maintain their confidence in future elections,” said Sen. Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks).

Turnout ( ballots logged in, before processing) from around the state:

  • Northwest Arctic: 13%
  • Nome: 14.5% 
  • Bethel 16.5%
  • North Slope 18.3%
  • Anchorage 22%
  • Yukon-Koyokuk: 22.7%
  • Fairbanks 24%
  • Mat-Su 24.3%
  • Kenai: 28%
  • Petersburg: 29%
  • Wrangell 29.7%
  • Juneau 29.3%
  • Haines 28.9%
  • Denali borough 30.2%
  • Copper River Census Area 32.3%


  1. This is exactly why we need a petition drive to end this ridiculous ranked choice, mail-in ballot voting. One ballot, one person, one election day, one vote per person.

  2. If we had a show up at the poling place with a proper ID to get a ballot and they vote it there would be a “0”% rejection rate and the election would be fair and results know within hours of the poles closing….this mail in system is ripe with fraud and misuse. This mail voting system is a failure and must be rejected as soon as we can get legislators elected to change it back to vote in person again.

  3. I suspect that the Democrats have made sure that each village has SOMEONE that can “guide” the residents in the proper way to complete a ballot. They are very good at that. And, no matter how “rural” you are, you do NOT get to vote more than once. Get over it.

  4. “Reasons for being rejected include not having a signature or voting more than once.”
    Gee… what is the rejection rate for in-person voting? HINT: it is not 9%, probably closer to zero.
    How often can a person showing a valid photo ID vote? HINT: Once.
    If you are signing in front of a poll worker, and show an ID, your signature if verified, even if it is not a perfect match to the one on your voter registration from 15 years ago. See, no rejections for illegible signatures.
    What type of voting has the highest rejection rates? Mail in
    What type of voting has the most possible ways for someone to vote illegally? Mail in
    What type of voting results in questions about integrity every single time it is used? Mail in
    Bet the Senate Dems are not going to fight for in person voting, but will instead try to get the signature requirement removed. Oh, and likely will try to get any kind of analysis for duplicate votes removed as well. A zero rejection mail in election. Every vote is counted, regardless of where it came from, whether the person mailing it is legally allowed to vote, or whatever.
    Ahh, the dream of a Democrat run election. Grab a handful of ballots as you leave Fred Meyer/Carrs, and vote as often as you want. Sure, it is illegal to do so, but the mail in system will make it impossible for any evidence of fraud to be verified.

  5. They are not loosing their right to vote they need to foolproof the instructions. That’s not my problem but if I follow the rules then they should. It is non learning that’s the problem. Don’t tell me their rights are infringed. Vote not counting is the voters lack of detail.

  6. It appears as though the mail in system pushed by the dems is significantly backfiring for them. Maybe they will now join the republicans in saying mail in voting is fraudulent!

  7. Just wait until the main event in August and November. RCV has a national average of 11% rejected ballots most of whom historically are minorities, less educated, English as a second language and very elderly. Imagine over 40,000 ballots getting tossed this fall (based on 400,000) voters “actually” voting. If we see anything close to historical numbers as logged in other RCV areas this was just a warm up….

  8. Do away with mail in voting! All this causes is skeptic’s and is not accurate. People need to go to the polls and the polls need to count the ballots same day. We shouldn’t have to wait weeks for results.

  9. I’m confused. Do these individuals complaining about their constituents not complying with very simple rules think rules should not apply to their voting base. I’m glad some of them are not running again. Good riddance to poor leadership.

  10. How were they “denied their right to vote” ?? Seems to me they submitted a ballot ( or two) but weren’t smart enough to follow directions about signing it.

  11. Although I know none of the insider details of the ballot rejection issues in this particular mail in election; some themes are ringing the warning bell quite loudly.

    These are my thoughts:

    1. It is a NOT TRUE that, All Alaska Natives i.e. Bush and/or Rural Alaskans align with the Democrat Fundraising Party.

    2. Although the Alaska Senate Democrats are raising the issue, this is not a traditional Alaska Democrat versus Republican Election issue, in my humble opinion.


    The Department of Justice oversees the Alaska Elections, per the Native American Rights Fund article found here:


    An American Indian person I know, who was previously employed by the DOJ and currently (to my knowledge) still is in the employ of the DOI, was adamantly against Tara Sweeny being exalted to Congressman Young’s seat.

    I was told they would be happy if Sarah Palin was the Republican to win the vote rank election instead of Nick Begich because then for certain the Democrat Would win.

    I did not ask, I just listened.

    Now I see Mary Petolla is the only Alaska Native and the only Democrat in the top 4.

    As I said before, I do not have a dog in this fight.

    Except for the obvious one.

    Rigged elections should be high treason crimes against America- you know the social studies lessons from elementary school about enemies foreign and domestic?

    • Please don’t copy/paste comments. There’s no way to read the whole of them-theyre cut short. It’s annoying as heck. More and more people seem to be doing it, from Facecrack or wherever, but it cuts out here. Make an effort.

  12. What is pitiful is having over 500,000 ballots mailed out, only approx 140,000 returned.
    We need to clean out the rolls.
    And for the DumboCrats, they didnt deserve 15% after screwing up our cities, our state and our country.
    F the DNC
    F the AK DNC

    • Agree, purge the rolls of anyone that hasn’t voted in the last 3-5 elections, if they can’t get off their lazy ass to vote then they shouldn’t be on the rolls. And leave it to a Democrat to make this about racism, they have overplayed their hand and people are tired of it.

  13. Hmmm… The two worst school districts in Alaska are leading the State in the most rejections. No surprise the voters can’t read the directions to only vote for one.

    What ticks me off is that all the villages love to vote in person. It’s a looked forward to community happening. Each Village has a election cadre of seasoned Poll workers. Every Village could of held an in person Election Day Vote, without anyone breaking a sweat. In fact it would of been a looked forward to event.

    Democrats shouldn’t be complaining, after all, the old saying, ” watch out what you ask for” applies here. They didn’t like the old system…….

    I personally think that this is just more poor planning and bad judgement on the States part by not having faith in it’s own Citizens to carry out the most vital of our fundamental responsibilities, which is too go vote, every chance you get.

  14. So they can’t read and follow directions like the rest of Alaskan voters who vote correctly? If they can’t follow instructions, sign with their signature, get a witness, etc ….then they shouldn’t be allowed to vote because they are too ignorant to understand the critical issues in Alaska. Can they spell Murkowski correctly?

  15. Is the Division of elections required to keep the rejected ballots for any length of time? If so, wouldn’t they have the proof to show why they were rejected?

  16. My point is often muddy. But this one thing still rings true. When two or more Native people run for a seat – the Native swing vote in Alaska is moot.

    Native people do not support each other or a bigger picture.

    The write in campaign and victory for Murkowski was claimed by the Native vote.

    However, my home region – i.e. the Nome voters were the demise of re-electing Ted Stevens and therefore Mark Begich won.

    Also, native people are busy with subsistence activities during the summer months that directly effect their day-to-day and seasonal survival. Those activities will not be interrupted because these activities are leaps and bounds more impactful and take precedent on their wellbeing than voting for (or not voting for) just another talking head that shows up during an election campaign season with a bait and switch message.

    Politics and politicians are for a political class.

    The working class people still work and adjust to the power swings of the elitists.

    There has not been an elitist that has and there simply will never be one that can promise to change the paradigm of what is important to folks that know what it takes to survive.

    So when you want to put down the people that don’t show up to vote during fishing and gathering season in Alaska.

    Think about this.

    When the swing vote chooses to swing. It can. And it does.

    Keep this in mind as well.

    In order for those demeaning statements about Alaska Natives in this thread to resonate with those you attempt to demean, requires their respect for your opinion.

    Maybe, on the other hand, you are hoping to be exalted by those who do respect your demeaning statements.

    In that case, are you not just simply preaching to your choir?

    The point of Must Read Alaska, from what I understand, is to move the needle in a “conversational platform”.

    • Respectfully, the reporting in this story isn’t about individuals not voting, but returning a ballot that was inadequately prepared by the voter, to be acceptable to the DOE. It clearly makes the point that mail-in ballots are eliminating people’s votes because of procedural hurdles not present in in-person voting. It is each voters responsibility to follow instructions and the complaint by these lawmakers is misdirected. Missing signatures and double voting are factual items easily demonstrated unlike the subjective “non-matching signature” rejections one finds with Anchorage Municipal elections.

  17. That actually gives me confidence that a standard for mail in voting is being met, no allowance for voting more than once and an actual signature match. It suggests that the democratic party expects to have those illegitimate conditions and do not care if that violates the law. Those are the exact events that happened in the 2020 presidential election. One of these days I will do an investigation in my own community as a project, we have a high degree of confidence it happens here…….

    • “…an actual signature match”
      And, that is why mail in voting should never be used.
      I registered to vote in AK more than 15 years ago. Do you really think my signature today matches the one I had 15 years ago? Do you think it is close enough that an untrained person can tell?
      Now… if everyone had to re-register to vote every three to five years, and update their signature, maybe there would be some validity to signature verification. On the other hand, if I show a state or federal issue photo ID to a poll worker, I have verified my identity, and even if I just put an X in the book next to my name, it is a valid, non-rejectable vote.

  18. LOL?
    Let’s have a riot at the State Capitol. Then let’s have a Select Committee begin hearings over rejected ballots. ADN and News Minus can provide full coverage. There’s a conspiracy in there somewhere.?

  19. You mean you can’t vote more than once? Really!? Delusional! And no signature and you’re mad about that? Perhaps you better do a better job of educating your voters. Don’t blame the Division of Elections.

  20. No one was denied the right to vote. People need to follow simple directions. If they don’t, they disqualify their own vote. And signatures that don’t match have to be excluded so that everyone can believe in the election results. Voting by mail without signature match is the opposite of anything people can believe in. Stretching elections out for weeks on end is the opposite of anything people can believe in. We need to vote on the day, in person, unless someone can present to the people some reason they should be allowed to vote in a less secure way. People have the right to vote and should certainly do so. But rights have limits, right Democrats?

  21. MAYBE BILL will finally admit that the best voting is clean and sober with ID required and IN PERSON where the person SEES the ballot go into the tabulator.

  22. democrats wanted this vote by mail scheme even though it is fraught with a high ballot rejection rate and outright fraud. A very complicated voting system nobody understands. They complain about ‘voter suppression’ when the Division of Elections apply the rules for legally cast ballots and reject those that don’t comply. The real voter suppression is self-inflicted, democrats. Your party is one of Marxist lunacy that does not interest Alaskans. You no longer even pretend to care about the “little guy” anymore. It’s all about group identity politics for democrats. It’s an utter failure and you are now reaping your rewards for a ruinous agenda.

  23. mail in voting = more fraud – more tossed ballots – more distrust in our government & our elections.
    And now the Dems are complaining about it? Good Grief, this is their dumb idea.

  24. For almost two years now the Dems & media have been lambasting Trump’s legitimate concerns about election integrity as, ” The Big Lie”. Now with the shoe on the other foot they are having a hypocritical hissy fit! Perfect!

  25. With all of the money we send to the rural areas within AK, perhaps we could teach folks how to read and follow simple instructions. Just a thought, or, better yet, discontinue send the thousands of $$$’s to the villages and other rural areas and reimburse the State residents.

  26. Oh give me a break!!! This is just whining on the part of the dems. Sounds like they didn’t educate their people well enough on the voting procedures and now want a re-do. They need to grow up and take responsibility for what happened and quit the blame game!

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