Galvin lawsuit over ballot could turn general election into 'debacle' - Must Read Alaska
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Saturday, June 19, 2021
HomeTop NewsGalvin lawsuit over ballot could turn general election into ‘debacle’

Galvin lawsuit over ballot could turn general election into ‘debacle’


The lawsuit filed by Alyse Galvin over the Alaska ballot has thrown the entire General Election into question: If ballots are not in the mail to overseas voters by 6 pm on Friday, then the State of Alaska will have missed the legal deadline to mail them.

Over 11,000 voters may be inconvenienced or even be robbed of their vote by the Galvin lawsuit.

That’s because the U.S. Postal Service doesn’t provide bulk mail services on Saturday, which is the federal “last day” for mailing those ballots to voters who are primarily military members and families overseas. Ballots must be in the post office by 6 pm Friday.

Overseas voters are often missionaries, military members, oil workers, miners, retirees in Mexico and Central America, the Pacific and Southeast Asia.

People who live off the active road system also get their ballots mailed to them early, so when they go to pick up their mail, they can vote at that time, because their next trip to town may be after the election. A lot of those voters are in District 6, from Tok to Eagle, and they rely on a special advance ballot.

Galvin sued the Division of Elections on Tuesday because she identifies as a nonpartisan voter who won the Democratic Party’s primary election, and yet she does not want to be identified as a Democrat. The ballot merely says she is the Democrats’ nominee.

The ballot was printed Monday.

The Department of Law, in its brief filed with the court Thursday, said that the injunction imposed by Judge Jennifer Henderson could harm the election and disenfranchise thousands of voters.

“Galvin has not shown the probability of success on the merits necessary to justify the draconian relief she requests — with its potentially catastrophic consequences for the election,” the Law Department wrote.

“To the contrary, Galvin’s legal claims do not even raise ‘substantial questions’ that would justify an injunction if the defendants could be adequately protected (which here, they cannot),” the State continued.

Galvin is a registered nonpartisan voter but ran in the Democratic primary for Congress and became the party’s nominee with the party’s blessing.

The ballot has two pieces of information about how candidates name themselves and how party affiliations will be identified: The actual name or nickname of the candidates and either the name of the party that nominated them or an indication they reached the ballot through a nominating petition.

Galvin reached the ballot through the Democratic Party primary. All of her campaign material indicates she is an “independent.” But there is no such legal definition in Alaska elections for an “independent.” Her registration today says she is nonpartisan. What she identifies as is difficult for any curious voter to discern, and she could, in fact, change her voter registration before the election and still appear on the Democratic ticket.

“This design is consistent with the Division’s longstanding practice of providing only one identifier for candidates on the general election ballot — either the political part that nominated them or the term ‘unaffiliated’ or ‘non-affiliated,’ terms that indicate that no party nominated the candidate,” the State argued, “neither of which is a voter registration status.”

Galvin has asked that the ballots be reprinted so she can be listed with an “N” next to her name at the same time she is identified as the winner of the Democratic Party primary.

The State says redesigning and proofing new ballots will take several days because there are 47 different ballots required for the General Election. Although the existing ballots were printed in 10 days, the printer also had prior notice of the job and was able to clear the schedule and arrange for the workforce to produce the product.

The printer now has approximately half the paper to reprint the ballots, and an additional shipment of paper would take about a week to arrive from Seattle.

In addition to reprinting ballots, the voting machines would have to be reprogrammed and retested. That can only occur in Juneau, where the staff and main server is located. Machines would have to be returned to Juneau from regional offices where they are now located, and would need to be reprogrammed, tested, and sent back to regional offices. Two rounds of testing have already been conducted, each one taking for or five days.

There is no way to predict whether the State could get those machines to some of the more remote places in the state by Nov. 3.

“The Division is already faced with the difficult task of running an election the the midst of a pandemic, with a vastly increased number of absentee ballots requested,” the briefing from the State says. “Ordering the Division at this point to reprint ballots and reprogram and test voting machines threatens to turn this election into a debacle.”

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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

  • “Just say, ‘NO’”

  • Exactly, too late to change !! Democrats are running scared

  • This is a way to ‘disenfranchise’ (God I hate that overused word the libs like to use), thousands of voters that historically vote R (military). Does she think that will help her? Scrub the spots of a leopard and it’s still a leopard. She could run as a Republican at this point and she’s still a loser. Someone needs to give her a nice, firm handshake and send her on her way. What a whiner.

  • Just another stall tactic by the Democrats. How pathetic.

  • The Democrat strategy for 2020 should be named “Operation Chaos.” Because they know they sure can’t win in a fair and legal election process.

  • Does the “N” she so desperately want next to her name stand for No Thank You, or Not Not, Not Ever?

  • The state courts really screwed the pooch on this one, first by allowing candidates to lie about party affiliation and second by the stop print order.

    If I were the SoA, I’d mail them today citing disenfranchisement and standing state law. If the state courts want to ensure 11,000 Alaskans can’t vote, let them issue that order and stand by the consequences.

    It is long past time for the SoA to tell the courts to pound sand. The longer this goes on, the better case the state courts make for a constitutional convention in 2022. Cheers –

  • Two words that come to mind when this lady comes up: “Poor Judgment”.

  • This is just a preview of what is to come nationally on November 3. Judge Henderson should be thrown in jail for election meddling.

  • Let the ballots stay as they are. Galvin is a wolf in sheep’s clothing that does not deserve to be in Alaska in my opinion. She represents every single thing working Alaskans despise. A whiny Democrat Liberal suing to get her way even tho the state made it clear there would be Rs on the ballot and Ds. Deal with it Galvin your still gonna lose!

  • I see she’s getting a jump on her agenda.
    “Stopping anything for moving forward”

  • I’d like to know why the Division of Elections stopped printing ballots like they used to do. Am I voting for Galvin? No. But I still expect the election process to follow the rules. Too often I’ve seen BS occur, and it just gets criticized without anything else happening. (Murkowski’s election, for instance.)

  • These “people” really do hate our Republic, our country, and our flag…

  • Suzanne-
    Can you get an image of the ballot as currently printed?

  • It’s very unfortunate that the government could not explain to the judge why it changed the ballot or why it waited until the last minute to disclose the change. Do not trust government bureaucrats Who change the rules. Certainly don’t trust them if they aren’t conservative. Thus, you can trust Trump, but not Berkowitz.

  • Even democrats don’t like being called a democrat.

  • What? Not proud of the Party of Wilson, of FDR, of Carter, of Clinton, of Obama, and now of Biden (Harris!)? Why hide? Or is this part of a larger plan designed by the Democrat Central Committee to invalidate the election process as a whole after centuries of functionality?

  • I think the whole way we classify voters needs to change.
    About two years ago, I filled out a voter registration form to change my affiliation & attempted to call myself an “Independent” but when my voter card returned in the mail it said “Non-partisan”?
    I was told by folks in the office down in Juneau that “Independent was not a choice….either Undeclared or Non-partisan were my two choices”?
    As for Galvin…if you take the devil’s money and he paints you with a blue strip then a blue strip is what you will wear in the November election, regardless of what the ballot says.
    “There is no free lunch in America”

    • You can register as an number of things according to the Dept of Elections. There are 3 “political parties”, 10 “political groups”, and 2 “others”. I’m guessing the reason you can’t register as an “independent” is because there is already and Alaskan Independence Party and having an Alaskan Independent could clearly cause some confusion…almost like having a Democrat run as nonpartisan in the partisan Democratic primary and then denying being the Democratic nominee.

    • Be careful, Steve–you are showing your cheechako status. There is an “I” registration in other states but not Alaska. So if you had been here very long you would know that. I’ve worked elections for over 30 years and you certainly are not the first person to complain about this! It’s the biggest gripe that people had at the Primary–they put down an “I” and so the Division of Elections automatically put them in the “Alaska Independence” party. Low and behold, they couldn’t get an R ballot at the Primary. I sure heard a lot of unhappiness about it!

  • I think we all just saw the defeat of Alyse Galvin. Don Young can save his campaign money. Only abject fools run against him.

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