Juneau’s mail-in election was a disaster: One of every 12.5 ballots rejected

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(This story has been corrected from original version on Jan. 6)

KTOO in Juneau is reporting that one out of every 12 ballots cast by Juneauites in its mail-in-only election in October were rejected. They didn’t count.

Some of those mailed ballots arrived too late, while others arrived late, but with no postal cancellation mark that would prove they were mailed on time. Still others had voter signatures that were not accepted by the ballot counters in Anchorage.

In October, Must Read Alaska reported that one out of 50 ballots had been rejected in the Juneau local election.

But since then, more ballots have trickled in to the Anchorage Election Office. Juneau contracted with the Anchorage Municipal Clerk to do the counting because Juneau’s Assembly didn’t want in-person voting due to the Covid pandemic. The number of rejected ballots is now over 700 ballots.

Anchorage’s municipal election in March and April had a high number of rejected ballots as well. The problem of rejected ballots didn’t exist when people voted in person, but is a growing concern, with numerous people reporting that they tried to “cure” their ballots but that their signature was rejected twice by the vote counters at the Anchorage Elections Office.

Arguably, the Juneau voting disaster is the worst public relations snafu for any election in Alaska history in terms of voter confidence.

There are 27,684 registered voters in Juneau, according to the City Clerk’s office, and that is in a city of  32,255 people. With 8,517 voting in October, turnout was at about 31 percent. Voters were choosing a mayor (an uncontested race), two Assembly members, three school board members, and deciding whether to extend a 3 percent sales tax. None of the race results would have changed if those 700 ballots had been counted.

The Juneau Assembly has voted to spend $700,000 on a vote-counting facility so that the city can keep doing vote-by-mail. For the past two elections, it has had all of the ballots sent to the Anchorage Municipal Clerk’s Office, which has a vote-counting facility with a checkered history.

Beth McEwen, Juneau City Clerk, explained to voters how the voting would work in this YouTube video:

In October, KINY news reported that Assemblywoman Carole Triem was happy with the new vote-by-mail system, and that she thought the election went well.

Asked on Action Line how she thought the new voting process has worked for Juneau, she said, “I think it’s going well.  I’m glad we have made a decision on what we’ll do moving forward.  Obviously this year was another kind of  interim year where we’re counting on the Anchorage muni to help us out but next year we’ll have it all self contained here in Juneau.  We’ll be able to control the process from start to finish.”

Triem told listeners she was convinced to support going to by mail elections on a permanent basis and supporting the funding to do so because of the increased turnout that occurred in last year’s initial by mail balloting.

The Juneau chapter of the League of Women Voters also supported the mail-in-only system and the use of the Anchorage Election Office as a bridge to managing the count locally.

Marjorie Menzi of the League of Women Voters told the Assembly in September that “The league believes that success is identified in a democracy by citizen participation. We consider voting by mail a success in Juneau. Voting by mail is a secure and fraud-free method of voting. … Providing adequate funding for our most fundamental right seems a reasonable expenditure of public dollars,” according to a previous radio report.

Read the KTOO story at this link.

37 COMMENTS

  1. CBJ in action. Never underestimate the Juneau Assembly’s ability to do a Biden and screw things up.

  2. What makes anyone believe 4 percent of ballots were actually “rejected” instead of, shall we say, repurposed toward a more desirable result?
    .
    Remember, the same crew who own and operate Anchorage’s easily corruptible mail-in ballot scheme are contracted to operate Juneau’s easily corruptible mail-in vote scheme.
    .
    So… why should one expect outcomes to be any different?

    • Because the voting community of Juneau is so left of center the difference wouldn’t move the needle.

  3. I think the key point here is the statement that, “None of the race results would have changed if those 700 ballots had been counted.” People are constantly screwing up their ballots since the establishment of the republic. Fortunately, most of the screw-ups don’t affect the results. But when someone claims he/she was the victim of a “stolen election,” he/she had better have something other than “because I said so…” as proof.

  4. What percentage of the ballots are rejected with in-person voting?
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    Because if you really want to see voter suppression, here it is.

    • Voter suppression is when a voter isn’t allowed to cast a ballot. Ballots can be rejected for a number of reasons. Fortunately, hanging chads are no longer in play, but there were a number of ballots in 2000 that were rejected because election officials decided they could not second guess the voter who cast the ballot. That’s not voter suppression.
      And in the end, as close as the Florida Presidential vote was, challenged ballots weren’t enough to change the outcome. What we really needed then was a Supreme Court that was willing to let the vote counting continue instead of declaring the winner. That could truly have been voter suppression by edict.

      • Here’s an exercise for you.
        Tell me what percentage of in person cast ballots are rejected for any reason.
        .
        Trying to turn it into a discussion about suppression, when you would have to be a Forrest Gump level moron to not get my point is disingenuous at best.

  5. I love how the narrative continues by simply repeating a statement proven false by surrounding circumstances:
    “Voting by mail is a secure and fraud-free method of voting…”
    There. Said it. Let it be true.

    • These idiotic leftists are like the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt: “So let it be written, so let it be done”, as if their words by themselves can and do shape reality.

  6. Please have sympathy for Juneau taxpayers. The Juneau Assembly spent six months debating the Paris Climate Accord – every meeting. But they just sent 8 people to the Captain Cook to the Municipal League meeting rather than have them attend by Zoom. This Assembly also gave a grant to teach cross-dressing lessons – drag queen they call it. There is no definition of pervert in Webster’s that Juneau municipal leaders won’t champion, much like Public Radio. This Assembly now wants to borrow money (using GO debt so that the debt service falls outside the mill rate cap) to build a new city hall and a new concert center. Voters turned down the concert center right before the pandemic hit. I could go on and on with this rant. This is very likely the poorest municipal management north of San Francisco. Is it any wonder they have spent over $1 million to pervert municipal elections? The Juneau Chamber of Commerce heartily supports this city government, and I buy everything I can elsewhere for that reason. If anyone wants to move the capital to their city then have at it; but if you don’t first get rid of the public employee unions you will soon have exactly this kind of mess in your city!

  7. If you keep doing the same dumb thing and keep getting the same bad results, what do you do? Keep doing it, of course. Throw more money at it. How familiar.

  8. If the gains to be made by mail in voting get lost because mail in voting has a certain built in discard rate why make voting less secure and risk disenfranchising many more voters?

  9. The statistics speak for themselves: with that rate of rejection, it’s a deeply flawed system – irrespective of whether it made a difference in any of the CBJ elections in this particular year.

    And it’s is not a “Biden” thing, or a “Libtard” thing or a “Let’s steal an election” thing. It is, more accurately, a bad idea by a naive Assembly that lacks the self-awareness to look at it’s boneheaded decision critically and objectively.

    • Nobody cares to admit that they’re a blooming idiot, especially if they’re so much that they couldn’t recognize it if it fell on them.

  10. So we are first off, supposed to trust the USPS, let alone the MOA clerk with our election results? I still want to know how the Anchorage Assembly and Berkowitz were able to change the system without a vote of the people.

  11. This coming election in Anchorage is gonna be hell dealing with the assembly.
    I think counting should be performed under all eyes of the skating rink at diamond mall operating 24 seven.
    The clerk And assembly were so P/O’d when they couldn’t institute plans already put in place when we voted in a new mayor.
    Everyone and I mean everyone need to be mic’s and have body cameras.
    Or just let me count them in my basement and I’ll tell you what the outcome was.
    And you better have proof if you don’t like the outcome.

  12. The rejected ballots indicate that the process works. If there were no rejected ballots critics would say the election was rigged and votes were double counted. Mail-in voting and ranked choice voting will increase voter participation sustaining our representative democracy.

    • You are really reaching for any straw in obvious desperation and denial of reality, Frank. As usual, I will add.
      .
      Let’s all face reality here: the ONLY reason that radical leftist authoritarians have pushed, and keep pushing, for mail-in voting is because deep down they know that they, lacking any and all principles, can and will use it in any fraudulent way possible (and there are many such ways) to secure and hold onto power. Because the exercise of raw, naked power is ALL that these sociopaths value.

    • Nice to hear from you again, Frank. We need all the support we can get to counter the false narratives.

      • Why do you need any individuals to continue furthering the pro-globalist, pro-establishment lies of the status-quo power structure, Homo, when you have essentially the entire corporate media, the political establishment, and the medical-industrial complex on your side already?

  13. This statement —————-

    Marjorie Menzi of the League of Women Voters told the Assembly in September that “The league believes that success is identified in a democracy by citizen participation. We consider voting by mail a success in Juneau. Voting by mail is a secure and fraud-free method of voting. …

    Never mind all the inherent problems mail in voting has in regard to secure voting rights of citizens.
    To name a few –
    —Relying on the post office in the voting process is certainly not foolproof as mail often does not arrive in either direction timely, or even at all.
    —In Anchorage there were all kinds of problems – does the League of Women Voters have that short of a memory? Residents received multiple ballots, ballots for people no longer living at the residence, or no ballot at all. Votes were cast by deceased people, and people that were no longer residents.
    —Then the fact that 700 mail in ballots were rejected and they think that is ok because, well, the voter percentage went up overall…..seriously? So those people whose votes were refused were treated fairly? That is election success?

    Mail in voting is fraught with problems, risk and has the highest rejection rate, mostly due to signature problems. Signatures change. Mine most certainly has.

    I was raised, and even taught in school, that doting was a right, and a responsibility. Freedom is not free and must be fought for and exercised. Obviously this is tragically no longer being taught given the awful typical voter turnout. Instill the importance of voting back into civic education along with patriotism and you will see turnout improve again. With no need to manipulate and coerce voters by methods that put election integrity at risk.

  14. So, now it is TWO out of every 25 ballots have been rejected? That is eight ballots out of every 100, doing some quick math…. 8% of the voters have been disenfranchised.
    .
    Hey! Leftists. Explain that. If 8% of the ballots are rejected, how is that not voter suppression? Oh… wait. Maybe those votes were cast illegally. Hmmmm…. then explain how mail in voting prevents illegally cast votes?
    .
    Please, do not try and tell me this is appropriate. Do not attempt to tell me this proves anything except mail in voting is stupid, and results in too many votes getting rejected.
    .
    My question still remains unanswered. How many ballots are rejected when it is all in person voting?
    Voter suppression, here it is.

      • Not questioning your reporting, Suzanne. (or your math) You are doing a great job bringing things to the forefront that other news outlets ignore.
        .
        I assumed that later reports had the correct numbers, and you updated appropriately. Regardless, thanks for correcting.

  15. So every vote counts as long as the left benefits. Once that threshold is crossed, who cares?

    This is what their version of democracy looks like. Like fascism.

  16. So, do you have to be on an “preferred voter” (or verified as voting our way) list for your vote to count? Or is this just simply a very bad idea?

Comments are closed.