The Division of Elections working group, during one of its first meetings in May, 2017.
STATE ELECTION POLICY WORKING GROUP TO CONSIDER PROPOSAL FROM ONE OF ITS OWN
The Anchorage League of Women Voters has sent a resolution to the State of Alaska asking it to adopt the mail-in ballot for the General Election.
It’s not clear from the resolution if the League wants only Anchorage to be able to conduct the General Election with a mail-in ballot, or if the League expects the entire state to “go postal” in November. The resolution sent to the Division of Elections leaves that open to interpretation and seems to suggest a hybrid of regular and mail-in voting for areas outside of Anchorage. But Anchorage would be all mail-in, as it did in the Municipal Election in April.
The wording “supports the State of Alaska utilizing the Municipality of Anchorage new vote-by-mail system beginning with the State of Alaska elections in 2018;”
It’s the first public push from mail-in ballot proponents to get the entire state on the system.
Changing the voting system, however, would require a change in state statute, which is not likely to happen this year, as the Legislature has already adjourned.
Even if statute is changed, it took Anchorage a year and a half to prepare for mail-in voting — and even then it did not go off without a hitch. Hundreds of ballots were returned undeliverable and cost overruns were extraordinary: It squeezed the taxpayers for more than $1 million, twice what it had cost to provide a traditional election.
That works out to $12.61 per vote cast, not to mention the tens of thousands of dollars in postage that voters had to pay themselves if they wanted to mail in their ballots, rather than drop them in regional drop boxes.
But the Anchorage League of Women Voters is undaunted. A quick skim of the voting registration of the board of the organization explains why it’s eager to move to mail-in ballots:
Five of the League’s board members are registered nonpartisans: Joyce M. Anderson, Cari Zawondny, Tina DeLapp, Carol Dickason, and Diane Mathiesen.
The other five are registered Democrats: Margaret McDonagh, Beth Nordlund, Shirley Pittz, Pat Redmond, and Schawna Thoma.
The Division of Elections Policy Working Group that is considering changes to elections will be meeting at 9 am on June 13 and will consider the request from the League, among other topics.
The League’s Resolution can be found here: