The voters in Juneau cast their ballots in September and October for the Oct. 5 municipal election.
But for 339 Juneau voters, their votes arrived, but did not get counted. That is because when they were delivered to the counting office in Anchorage — the same one run by the Anchorage Municipal Clerk and used for Anchorage elections — there was no U.S. Post Office cancellation on them. There was no way to determine when those ballots had been mailed.
8,517 Juneau voters — 30 percent of the registered voters of the Capital City — took part in the election process. With 339 ballots not counted, that is nearly 4 percent of the Juneau electorate who missed the opportunity to have their votes counted.
The Juneau City Assembly earlier this year decided that all-mail-in elections are the way of the future, just like they do in Anchorage.
In fact, the Assembly contracted with the Municipal Clerk’s Office in Anchorage to manage the Borough’s election, while plans are underway to spend $700,000 on a warehouse remodel in Juneau to serve as the Election Center, just as Anchorage has done with its Election office at a warehouse at 619 Ship Creek Avenue.
The Juneau election was certified last week. None of the contested races would have been decided by those 339 uncounted votes. But the problem of 4 percent of voters being disenfranchised by the U.S. Post Office is disconcerting to conservatives in Juneau. Assemblyman Wade Bryson raised the issue on the “Problem Corner” radio show on KINY and said that he thinks there is a problem, but no one else on the Assembly seems to agree.