Daniel Smith: Convoluted election observer process designed to keep the public away



Anchorage Municipal Clerk Barbara Jones created and oversees a new and incredibly convoluted election observer qualification process. The winding and overly bureaucratic process to become an election ballot observer is analogous to being swept up in a tornado, rendered unconscious, and deposited in a fairytale land of fictitious election integrity.  

So begins our journey along the Barbara Jones, self-titled “yellow brick road” of mystical and illusionary ballot observation. Jones’ yellow brick road refers to the yellow taped pathway in the election center providing boundaries to the public.   

Here is the new convoluted process as I understand it:

First step: One must sign up as a member of a specific campaign and attend a mandatory tour of the municipal election center on Ship Creek Ave. However, the city has failed to provide sufficient tour opportunities. This requirement to being an observer is a major bottleneck in the process.  A total of 10 tours are offered with only seven of them prior to ballots being mailed out and processed on March 15.  Only 10 people are allowed per tour. That’s only 70 possible observer’s maximum by the first day of ballot processing on March 15.  

There was plenty of room for more than 10 people on my tour. 

More onsite tours are not available from the Muni.  All tours are fully booked through March 24, 2022.  This is 10 days after many ballots have already been counted. 

Second step: Fill out and submit a confidentiality agreement form and an observer registration form tied to each specific campaign. Easy you say? Yes, but it is a prerequisite to obtaining the ruby slippers that allow one to access the sacred and mandatory online training course.  A course that was not available, to anyone, until Friday, March 11, just two business days before ballots begin to be processed. As stated by the Clerk on the March 10 tour, “We just published the online training for observers today.”  Ballots are mailed out no later than March 15.

Step three:  The new online training requires you pass the test and print your certificate. But you are not done yet. You must complete and submit for approval yet another form, the “Observer Training and Tour Agreement Form.”  On this form you must proclaim that you have taken the online course and passed it, taken the facility tour, received the 33-page “Election Observers Handbook” and are generally a good person.  As one who despises red tape, the phrase “How about a little fire, Scarecrow?” has new found meaning at this point.

Step four: Hurry up and wait. You must stand by for 48 hours to receive your official observation badge from the Great OZ. The tin man may have rusted in place by this time.

Our first batch of observers from one campaign attended the required tours March 10 and 12. These observers from that same campaign have submitted their required paper work in person, to the clerk on March 11 at 9:30 am. There will not be enough time to get their observer credentials because the online training has not been made available in a timely manner.  

As of March 12, 2022, the red sand in the witch’s hourglass is passing very quickly. None of those observers have received their Clerk- issued, personalized e-mail invitation to access the required on-line training, take the test and receive their certificate. It was stated by the Clerk that only by her allowance will observers gain access to their required online training. 

Even if the Clerk grants access to the online training Monday, March 14, and the required paper work is submitted that same day, there will not be enough time to gain observer status. The Clerk claims to have a 48-hour turnaround time for observer badges to be issued.  That would be Wednesday at best.  There will be no observers from several campaigns who are properly credentialed and able to observe ballot processing prior to March 16.  

Due to the new twisted requirements placed upon potential observers, we are not likely to have approved observers from most campaigns.  By the time the first ballots arrive at the Election Center and get processed on March 15, many campaigns will not have been given the opportunity to observe the initial counting.

There will be no diploma for the scarecrow.

In-person voting on election day was never this complicated. It produced quicker results at far less cost. All of the voter verification was immediate as you presented your picture ID and entered the polling location. Voting was far more secure. The integrity of votes was much more possible.

Courageous lions are bravely trying their best to comply with the procedural demands imposed on them in the ballot counting and processing land of OZ.  They just want to serve as volunteers and try to ensure some degree of election integrity, but are actually being denied their opportunity. 

The new and unnecessarily cumbersome observer registration process is ill-conceived and broken, either by design, incompetence, or both. 

Dan Smith is a lifelong Alaskan and Anchorage resident who writes for Must Read Alaska


  1. Looks to me like clerk Jones has a power swelled head, someone has giver an imbecile way to much power. just remember voters libs do not need to win the vote they just need to control the counting .

  2. Whatever happens will work out for good for those who love God. I ain’t worried whatever the outcome. Of course! I like to see mayor bronson given a break with four new assembly members, i think he deserves it, while the four outgoing members be humbled by being knocked off their little throne to take their own break to think about that seat doesn’t belong to them. and God can put whoever he wants on it! Despite political election games. Which includes continuing current members terms if its what He wills. I do notice people turn to God or recommit our lives faster during their time experiencing adversities and brute leaders than when everything is somewhat peaceful and the leaders are somewhat righteous.

  3. It would be fine with me if this woman’s contract is not renewed. Or a quick visit to the magistrate to complain that she refuses to appear at work for these duties indicates nonconformance and therefore does not qualify her to be paid any further makes sense at this time. If it is too onerous for her it just is too onerous for (her) performance. Out.

  4. Whatever happens will work out for good for those who love God. I ain’t worried whatever the outcome. Of course! I like to see mayor bronson given a break with four new assembly members, i think he deserves it, while the four outgoing members be humbled by being knocked off their little throne to take their own break to think about that seat doesn’t belong to them. and God can put whoever he wants on it! Despite political election games. Which includes continuing current members terms if its what He wills. I do notice people turn to God or recommit our lives faster during their time experiencing adversities and brute leaders than when everything is somewhat peaceful and the leaders are somewhat righteous. I had noticed even those who don’t follow jesus as. Lord and their savior prosper and benefit under somewhat God-fearing more righteous leaders direction than a leader basically leaders living for self and ruling by their own understanding. Youknow what i am seeig in the word of God? He only needs a ‘few good men’ doing their part while God completes the difference. The bible and torah shows our. God is bigger, craftier, more intelligent than jones and any politco muscle man.

    • You make a great point! Always frustrated me that I pray more when times are hard. But, Jesus accepted this when his disciples were not fasting. He said the time for fasting would come. I believe one can make the case that now is a time for fasting and prayer. Prayers are not idle wishes that only affect yourself and others by your improved demeanor. James 5:16. Do your best in your actions, and do not discount your Faith with God

  5. Barbara Jones is inventing more ways to cheat and conduct election fraud.
    Why is this happening? No one elected Barbara Jones to anything.
    Investigate Barbara Jones, criminally if warranted, and someone please,……get rid of her!

  6. It could be worse. You could be like Juneau where a separate building on the outskirts of town was purchased for the sole purpose of counting mail in only election ballots. I imagine access is very limited and it was remodeled. Hmmm, I’m thinking the remodel included a secret passage where harvested ballots could be brought in undetected.

  7. Daniel smith what good is it to gain the world and yet loose your soul we are a Bible based nation. Take a minute and think is it about hoodwinking the cameras so the citizens go with television? Or is it about so help me GOD for the people by the people of the people. An oath takers boss is GOD himself. The citizens vote the citizens trust the vote counter that is all the citizens has plus’s the citizens have GOD. Fair and square so help me GOD toss the votes in the pile and let the results lay. Oath integrity is all we need. Fair and square so help me GOD all you oath takers swore to for the citizens.

  8. When it comes to corrupt, power-mad, radical leftist extremists like Babs Jones, never attribute to ignorance that which can be sufficiently explained by malice.

  9. It’s much more difficult to count the “ghost” votes if people are watching. The “ghosts” are very shy.

  10. Yup.

    Get lazy, elect a corrupt Assembly/legislature, this is what you get.

    A self inflicted wound, Alaska

  11. Daniel Smith speaks the TRUTH, and you can take that to the bank….

    Anchorage Municipal Clerk Barbara Jones has created a gold platted kingdom with the help of many of our Socialist 9 on the Assembly, like dunbar and constant, those little scallywags.
    We will be suffering the consequences of Barbs World and creative vote counting soon. Remember 2020?
    In my opinion, prelim votes should be available (in 5 to 7 days) to those folks that need to know where vote totals need to be realigned in order to create the desired results of incumbency reelection.

    So, hang on folks — the destiny of Anchorage is in many groups’ hands– like vote total creators, voters who follow the rules and lastly a bunch of miscreants who always seem to surface from the swamp and cause harm.

  12. Face reality.

    Anchorage is no longer a city.

    It is simply a testing ground for new liberal policies intended to destroy the America we once knew.

  13. I wonder if this process is the same for all campaign observers or for just the observers on the right? It needs to be noted at actual count time how many observers there are and their affiliation. I bet the right will be heavily outnumbered.

    • Was my thought.
      Do the folks from leftists’ campaigns get first dibs on the training, and their certificates immediately, etc… I bet they do.

      • That’s exactly the reason they will fill the observer slots with dedicated leftists. The ballot counters will be able to work, undisturbed and assured their fraud will be exposed.

  14. Unfortunately, the far left managed to get elected to almost every Assembly and School Board seat and even the Mayors office. Now that they hold the keys to the Muni, Clerk Jones is busy changing all the locks so they can control forever.

    Mayor Bronson slipped in because the Ruling Leftists of the Muni were blindsided by Mayor Ethan’s spectacular fall from grace, and they want to make dang sure they can keep Bronson at bay with constant (no pun intended) vetos and stonewalling, while running ads that say the Assembly is “actively working with the administration” for the good of the Muni. Who can hear that and not laugh?

    Let’s hope it’s not impossible to restore some balance snd sanity in Anchorage.

  15. How many public observers are needed? it appears there will be a more than adequate number of observers at the next election. Mail in voting is more cost effective and results in larger voter turn-outs. Harping about the 2020 election results is a recipe for losing the next election

    • Per the Municipality, mail in voting costs more.
      And, more votes is not necessarily a good thing. More informed voters is. The problem with universal mail in voting is too many people who couldn’t possibly care less about who is running for public office vote. They make their choice based on campaign ads, or the number of signs they see on their commute. Not on the issues that matter to them.
      As to how many observers are needed? As many as are needed. How many officials are required to make sure a sports game is played fairly? How many fish and game wardens are needed? How many cops are needed?
      Funny how humans tend to pay attention to the rules when they know someone is watching, but tend to be sloppy when they know they are not being observed.

    • ‘https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/anchorage/2018/04/27/cost-of-anchorages-first-vote-by-mail-election-exceeds-1-million/

  16. When bureaucrats become too powerful, it is time to throw out the bureaucracy. This is an example of unelected bureaucrats running our city into the ground, complicit with elected members of the assembly that have no interest in fiscal responsibility.

  17. Of course Barbara Jones has not sent me nor others a ballot. I have to be her humble penitent on my knees begging her, personally, for our ballots. And, all Anchoragites must do the same. Are YOU humbly down on your knees begging this unelected ballot controller to deign to send your ballot so that YOU may participate as an American her personal agenda? Have you received your ballot. This really is rigged.

    • Remember Poor Barbara does not answer her phone directly nor she come to work because of covid. Nor do the marxist nine answer their “phone numbers” ever because of covid. What are we paying these people for? This is stupid and illegal.

  18. This is a multimillion dollar corporation formed pursuant to the now bankrupt US corporation. This is not an effete small family skiing organization in northern CA run on a first name basis only. I don’t need a first name basis to get services in this big city do I?. I believe this is beneath reasonable business expectations and a racket and should be investigated federally. Now!

  19. The mere fact that Barbara Incorporated has arranged for me to set up a service to track the physical location of ballots does not mean I’m going to sign up “on-line” on my rickety marginally functional computer. I have not asked for the phone home to mommy “ballot where are you service”. I don’t want it and I’m never going to use this excessive surveillance monitoring service/ phone home to mommy service. We aren’t your kiddos; we aren’t your buddies. We are your employer and we don’t want this now mandatory service. Who do you think you are? Really?

  20. Sooo, Linda at election center said: “If your first mailed ballot doesn’t come by Friday; don’t worry we’ll send you another one. Cool. I’m not worried at all.

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