Ballots everywhere - an opportunity for fraud - Must Read Alaska
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Ballots everywhere — an opportunity for fraud

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PEOPLE IN ANCHORAGE WOULDN’T DO THAT, WOULD THEY?

Ballots were in the mail on Tuesday and by Wednesday some Anchorage residents were already receiving them — multiples of them. In one case, a man received two ballots to himself — one as Richard and the other as Rick. Residents in apartment buildings report receiving ballots for numerous previous residents.

This reporter was in possession of over a dozen ballots by Friday night — mostly belonging to neighbors who have since moved away — and was left wondering how many such stray ballots could be voted, signed, mailed and then slip by the human signature verifiers undetected? Thousands, we imagine. (Testing such a weakness in the system would be voter fraud, although Alaska law itself is weak in this area).

And then there’s the mail theft problem.

BALLOTS IN THE WILD

On Friday, the education and outreach coordinator for the Anchorage Municipal Clerk sent out this notice:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
Earlier today, MOA Elections was contacted by voters who reported theft of Vote by Mail ballot packages in the Chugiak area. The location of the reported theft was in the vicinity of Whispering Birch Drive, Oberg Road and Deer Park Drive. Forty-six ballot packages were turned in to the Chugiak Post Office.
 
The Municipal Clerk’s Office filed theft reports with the United States Postal Service Inspector General and the Anchorage Police Department. The APD Case Number is 18-502374. If anyone witnessed this crime or if someone has evidence of the crime, they are urged to contact APD by calling Dispatch at 786-8900, referencing Case #18-502374. Citizens may also contact Crime Stoppers at 561-STOP(7867).
 
The ballot packages turned in to the Chugiak Post Office were damaged and wet. The stolen ballot packages will be voided and new ballot packages will be issued to the voters. 
 
The Clerk’s Office thanks the alert community members who brought this to our attention, as their actions help us to ensure the integrity of the election. The Clerk’s Office considers reports of ballot tampering and theft of ballot packages as very serious and will follow up on those reports for referral to APD and the USPS Inspector General.
 

The Clerk’s notice identifies a problem that didn’t exist before — ballots are being found everywhere. But the Clerk doesn’t have a remedy other than to say that this is a problem that can be addressed only if the ballots are turned into the police, city or post office so they can “ensure” the integrity of the election.

A SYSTEM BUILT ON TRUST

How will Anchorage residents know that once they put their ballots in the mail or in a drop box that it will actually be counted?

Must Read Alaska called the Muni’s voting hotline (907-243-8683) and asked, “We used to be able to see our ballot go into a tabulation machine. We had certainty our ballot was counted and anonymous. Now, how can we be sure?”

The answer is less than satisfactory. It’s a system built on trust.

Ballots will feed into a scanner and two elections officials will check signatures against a database to verify identities.

Yes, the voting central offices are relatively secure and every corner is watched by a camera. But the only way to know if your ballot was actually received and counted is to call and give them your name and other identifiers. They will be able to look it up on a list. The information won’t be posted publicly but is public.

The number to call to verify that your vote was received is 907-243-8683 or e-mail the clerk’s office at [email protected].

The last day to vote is April 3. Mail your ballot, using a first-class stamp, or save on postage by bringing the ballot to a secure drop box in your area.

Must Read Alaska has concerns about the voting integrity and the ability of organized political groups to con ballots from trusting people and either mail them on their behalf — or not mail them.

In Palm Beach County, Florida last year, detectives found that extensive voter fraud had occurred when candidates and their surrogates cajoled voters into voting for them, helped them fill out their ballots, and on occasions actually filled the ballots out for them and signed them. No arrests were ever made.

[Read: Palm Beach Post report on voter fraud in 2017 mail-in voting]

IF YOU DON’T TRUST THE SYSTEM

If you have less than full confidence that the Anchorage vote by mail system is secure, you can use five accessible vote centers that will open March 26:

  • MOA Election Center
  • 619 East Ship Creek Avenue, Suite 100 at Door D (on the east side of the building)
  • All Municipal ballots will be available at this location.
  • Open:
  • Monday, March 26, 2018 to Friday, March 30, 2018, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Monday, April 2, 2018, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Election Day, April 3, 2018, from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Anchorage City Hall
  • 632 West 6th Avenue, Room #155
  • All Municipal ballots will be available at this location. 
  • Open:
  • Monday, March 26, 2018 to Friday, March 30, 2018, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Monday, April 2, 2018, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Election Day, April 3, 2018, from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • ZJ Loussac Library
  • 3600 Denali Street, First Floor
  • All Municipal ballots will be available at this location. 
  • Open:
  • Monday, March 26, 2018 to Saturday, March 31, 2018, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 1, 2018, from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m.
  • Monday, April 2, 2018, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Election Day, April 3, 2018, from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Eagle River Town Center (Same building as the Library) 
  • 12001 Business Boulevard, Eagle River
  • Community Room #170
  • Only Chugiak-Eagle River ballots will be available at this location.
  • Open:
  • Monday, March 26, 2018 to Friday, March 30, 2018, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Monday, April 2, 2018, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Election Day, April 3, 2018, from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • O’Malley’s on the Green
  • 3651 O’Malley Road
  • All Municipal ballots will be available at this location.
  • Open:
  • Monday, March 26, 2018 to Friday, March 30, 2018, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Monday, April 2, 2018, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Election Day, April 3, 2018, from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

map of Accessible Vote Center locations.

[Read: Double ballots, closed post offices, food for votes]

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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

  • As a resident of Wasilla, I know I don’t have a dog in the fight, but the potential is there for some valley body to decide this is a good idea and implement this grossly flawed, unsecured, fraud-laced system of “voting.”

    Until voter ID is required, dead people, and other people who have no right to vote in our communities and fraud will run rampant. Since liberals cannot win an honest election, it is in their best interest to push for voting scams like this.

    It’s not difficult to understand.

    • George Angus, I’m kind of with you in that, as a Valley resident “I don’t have a dog in the fight”, but then I thought about this for a second. Is Anchorage using this system to vote for our next State Governor & our National reps? If so then we “DO” have a dog in this fight……not yet, but soon

      • That’s a great point, Shawn. And it could establish a precedent as well. I could see the Mat-Su domino being the next to fall into this voter fraud laced system.

  • Was the decision to vote by mail voted on? I don’t recall ever seeing where residents had a choice in this important decision. I’m not in favor of it whatsoever. As a state, let alone a nation, we are becoming more and more lax in one of the most important processes we hold.

    • Anchorage voters were never given the option. The closest we got was a few years ago a petition was filed and signatures were being gathered to move the Muni election to the fall, on NOvember’s General Election day. As that started gaining steam, in an attempt to thwart the efforts of citizens trying to wrest control of Muni elections from the mafia, the Assembly, led by (I believe) Elvi Gray-Jackson, voted to move the elections to the fall, at a time to be determined, but in 2 or 3 years. That quelled the rebellion for the time being, and the ballot initiative never saw the light of day.

      Then, in a direct affront to the efforts of the election-day-change-citizen activists, the Assembly dreamed up this wonderful idea of vote by mail, all the while keeping Muni election day safely in the spring, far, far away from the much larger voter turnout of General Election day. Of course, both initiatives are under the guise of “increasing voter turnout”. Some of the best estimates I’ve heard say vote by mail could increase Muni voter participation to ~35%. Time will tell.

  • Well. at least I know which bathroom I need to use….Might be a little rough but I’ll bring my own paper that I got in the mail, they don’t listen anyway to what you vote for…..And they can’t figure out why voter turnout is so low….

  • Call the lawyers. Whose idea was this?

  • Please share this petition, this is an issue we need the Assembly to address immediately.

    https://www.change.org/p/assembly-of-the-municipality-of-anchorage-municipality-of-anchorage-vote-by-mail-cease-the-program-asap

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