By ART CHANCE
The sane people in Anchorage can take comfort in the failure of the avaricious bond measures thrown out by the Peoples’ Committee for Education, excuse me, the Anchorage Oblast School Committee, sorry, I keep finding myself in the wrong country and decade.
We can also take some comfort from Randy Sulte’s defeat of Assemblyman John Weddleton, though Weddleton is such a get along, go along guy that had Assemblywoman Jamie Allard had a majority, he’d have probably been a fairly reliable vote for her. That said, good riddance; all he had going for him was that he wasn’t as bad as the true communists. And that is the end of the good news about the Anchorage Municipal election.
Reasonable people can disagree about the police, fire, and other service bonds. All of them passed but none with my vote because I’m simply not willing to give the corrupt and self-serving city government another dime. Maybe when we get a government that represents the taxpayers rather than the interest groups and public employees, I’ll think about giving them money beyond that which they confiscate with taxation.
The rest of the election was simply disastrous for sane people. First, let’s deal with a pernicious meme that pervades conservative opinion, including opinion on these pages. A lot of self-anointed “true conservatives” aver that the communist Assembly in Anchorage exists because conservatives just can’t be bothered to vote; this simply isn’t true. The mail ballot election system stacks the deck against centrist/conservative voters and the advantage is usually insurmountable. Bronson’s election was a fluke made possible by the lefty come-apart precipitated by former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’ tryst-gone-bad. Weddleton pretty much mailed his campaign in and Stulte managed a narrow victory. We of the center-right did get a win in Eagle River, but as Kelly Merrick’s false-flag victory over Jamie Allard in the House race showed a few years ago, even Eagle River isn’t safe against a well run and funded false-flag campaign.
At the bottom of the issue is Alaska’s very lax voter registration system. Even back in the 1970s, Alaska accommodated its very transient population by making it very easy to register to vote. Registrars sitting at a card table at the entrance to stores and malls were an every weekend sight during election season. You had to sign an oath that you were who you said you were and lived where you said you lived, but I never saw any evidence of anyone checking on it.
The first political news I have any strong memories of were the controversies surrounding Gov. Jay Hammond’s defeat of incumbent Gov. Bill Egan and his primary defeat of former Gov. Walter Hickel in 1978. The courts found plenty of evidence of slovenliness, incompetence, and malconduct, but they set a rule that such conduct had to be sufficient to alter the outcome of the election, and they left that determination to themselves.
An already lax and sloppily run registration and election system was made even less rigorous by the ”motor voter” provisions in federal election law enacted during the President Clinton years. Anyone who had any contact with a government office likely was registered to vote every time they had such a contact. We may wonder how much effort went into clearing the duplicate registrations. Duplicates remain a vexatious problem; some are just two people with the same name, but some are duplicate or even multiple registrations.
Then we had a “hold my beer” moment. For those who thought our voting system was too lax, we went even further when we enacted the Permanent Fund dividend registration system. Everyone over 18 who has met the residency requirements for receiving a PFD, and a lot who haven’t, is now a registered voter. The Permanent Fund division of the Department of Revenue has almost no capability to verify residency or identity fraud. Some significant percentage of Alaska’s registered voters no longer live here; they established residency, got a PFD or two and moved elsewhere. The State of Alaska, for both good reasons and bad, has done a terrible job of purging the rolls of inactive voters. There are lots, certainly thousands, of registered voters who haven’t set foot in Alaska in years and are unlikely to ever do so again.
The vast majority of these people have never given Alaska another thought and have certainly never taken the risk of casting a fraudulent ballot in Alaska. But, they don’t have to. The fact that their name is on the voter roll is all somebody intending fraud needs.
Anchorage uses the State’s hopelessly polluted voter rolls and sends out a ballot to the address of record on the State’s rolls. Unfortunately the person who appears on the voter roll at that address may not have lived there in years. Anchorage touts its system in which it sends a post card to the address of registered voters and asks them to verify that they are the person on the roll at that address. How many of those do you think actually get a response? The really conscientious might scrawl “not at this address” and put it back in the mailbox; most will just pitch it in the trash. In multi-family housing, many will just pile up at the mailbox. Give me a crew of woke college students and a little money, and I’ll efficiently harvest all those lonely unclaimed ballots.
That’s an entry level course on how to commit fraud. In Anchorage I don’t think they’ve engaged in much, if any, fraud; they don’t have to yet.
In Anchorage’s mail ballot scheme and in the State elections when they use mail ballots the Left can turn out its vote at wholesale. They don’t have to use the State’s polluted voter rolls with no current contact information. The unions and leftist interest groups that make up the bulk of the Leftist vote have up to date membership lists and up to date contact information. In the case of most of the unions they get updated lists from the employers regularly and at your expense. The voluntary interest groups have to work a little harder but they have much more accurate contact information than center/right candidates who have to rely on State rolls or spend serious money for privately collected lists that are somewhat, only somewhat, more accurate
The leftists set up their phone banks and get out their vote. Many if not most of the people working their phone banks are on paid release time from their employer.
If they have recalcitrant voters, some of them are not above sending a couple of guys from the Hall over to a member’s house for some additional persuasion.
Center-right candidates have to get out their vote with shoe leather, volunteers who are really giving up their personal time, and use of a very fragmented and expensive print and electronic media.
The reality is that so long as there are mail ballot elections, the Left will win most of them. Anchorage is lost unless we can eliminate the mail ballot.
Art Chance is a retired Director of Labor Relations for the State of Alaska, formerly of Juneau and now living in Anchorage. He is the author of the book, “Red on Blue, Establishing a Republican Governance,” available at Amazon.