League of Women Voters asks state to adopt mail-in ballot - Must Read Alaska
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Thursday, November 14, 2019
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League of Women Voters asks state to adopt mail-in ballot

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:

IS THERE A WORK-AROUND?
Talk show host Amy Demboski has said there is a loophole that could allow such a change to take place without a broad public process. The lieutenant governor and Division of Elections has the authority to enact emergency regulations to change election procedures, but it’s unclear what constitutes an emergency.
One such emergency happened in 2006, when a lieutenant gubernatorial candidate, former state legislator and Soldotna mayor Ken Lancaster, dropped out of the race in mid-September and the Division of Elections issued an emergency regulation to give his running mate, Andrew Halcro, the ability to name a new running mate. He named Anchorage Assemblywoman Fay Von Gemmingen.
The Division of Elections Policy Working Group has been meeting for over a year, but little is known about the membership of the group or their work. Their meetings are generally not advertised, and few Alaskans are aware of the changes that may take place under Lieutenant Gov. Byron Mallott with the advice of this panel of election advisers.
Joyce Anderson, who chairs the Anchorage League of Women voters, serves on this working group, as do others noted in this Must Read Alaska story from May, 2017.
Some of the group’s work can be found in a 2017 document posted at the Division’s web site.
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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

  • Evidently they still haven’t considered the cost for a mail in ballot. They also haven’t taken into consideration how many ballots were returned, made fraudulently, never got to the person intended etc. I suppose when you want to win that desperately it doesn’t really matter how you get. In the end, it’s when you are alone battling yourself for the decisions you made whether your conscious let’s you sleep at night. But then you will try to explain that away too. The problem with the truth is it’s surrounded by a bodyguard of lies.

    • I could not have said that better. Bravo

  • It would seem that the League of Women Voters is a sexist group and discriminates against men. Why can’t men belong to the League if girls can join the Boy Scouts? This is a scam. Question: How many ballots in the recent Anchorage election were witnessed ballots marked with an X? And how were the signatures of the witnesses verified? Were the witnesses required to be registered voters? Just like Lt Gov Treadwell allowed Walker and Mallot to join on the Unity ticket, Lt Gov Mallot will support mail-in voting–to assure the desired outcome.

    • The League of Women Voters welcomes men to the League and there are many male members. Some hold positions on League boards around the country and others have held state and local League offices. The use of the word “women” in the name honors the history of the League, which grew out of the women’s suffrage movement. It’s primary purpose is to educate voters on the issues and work toward secure and fair elections for all eligible voters. Not a bad focus, I’d say.

      • With respect, the focus may be good but the integrity of the voting procedure in Anchorage seems strongly suspect due to processes over which voters have no knowledge, control, or recourse.
        .
        When one considers the money and ideologies currently at stake in Anchorage, the motivation for mandating a comparatively opaque, non-secure –but convenient– voting process over traditional audit-able, private balloting seems clear.
        .
        The ultimate irony is the League of Women Voters may have set in motion an un-auditable voting process, a juggernaut accountable to nobody, that can effectively disenfranchise everybody, including the very Americans for whom the Nineteenth Amendment was passed almost a century ago.

        • I believe the cornerstone of an audit in voting is the presence of paper ballots that can be recounted. Alaska has always had a paper trail in its elections. It isn’t likely that an organization that cares deeply about voting rights, such as the League, would support a voting method that doesn’t include paper ballots. I encourage all those truly interested in voting rights to spend some time working as an election official. The care that goes onto Alaska’s election processes is one of the best in the country.

          • Not sure what, if anything, is in place to verify whether mail-in voting operates in the best interest of the public and whether standard procedures are followed to comply with established requirements.
            .
            Information-system audit assesses controls relevant to the IT infrastructure within an organization.

            Remember SAP, and you’ll appreciate that nobody in the municipal heirarchy –or the league– is capable of objectively or competently auditing IT infrastructure such as: design and internal controls of the system, information security and privacy, operational effectiveness and efficiency, information processing and data integrity, and system development standards.

            Add a gaggle of freshly minted amateur forensic document examiners who may or may not have been trained to ” The Standard Guide for Scope of Work of Forensic Document Examiners” standards and one has a recipe for virtual disenfranchisement.
            .
            In other words, we have not one shred of proof that the care which goes onto Alaska’s election processes is one of the best in the country.
            .
            A major accomplishment when ideology insists no bond or tax be left behind, and no course change from ideological port to starboard can be permitted, no?

  • Of course it’s an emergency! Watch for coming jeremiads on the suddenly desperate state of Alaska’s voting system, how it can be rescued only by mail-in voting or even computerized voting.
    .
    The LOW (!) Voters saw how easily gullible Anchorage voters were forced into accepting voting “convenience” over voting security and process integrity.
    .
    So should it not be just as easy to force the idea statewide?
    .
    Seems like a win-win for our governor, lobbyist-legislator team, and our Communist Chinese gasline partners, at least until productive Alaskans decide it’s time to drain their swamp…

  • I left Alaska in 1991 with my wife and three children because the state was changing from bad to worse! When my family moved there in 1955, it was a place of beauty and fun! It was the right place to bring up a family! The freedom and independence you had raising a family, and friends you could count on and share in the freedom of what the land had to offer! Schools were a place we went to learn how to be good citizens and good people! We learned how to be hard working members of the community! Some of us joined the service in during the Vietnam War and came home welcomed! The Alaska Pipeline pumped billions into the economy and put people to work! They never hired the amount of locals that they promised! I drove many bus loads of oil workers from Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana to work on that line. It brought people from all over, good and bad! Some of them stayed! When Gov.Hammond put into to play the Permanent Devidend Fund, he set it up for Alaskans who lived in the state for a year! Every time the legislature goes to Juneau, they want to raid that fund to balance the Budget! The dems and left have turned this great state into a welfare state just for votes! Every time I visit there, it gets worse! Gangs, violence like LA, and legislatures giving money away! People able to work on welfare and disability! Hardworking Alaskans having to pay for the lazy, veterans not taken care of and costs through the roof because of so-called shipping cost! Two refineries within the state and gas higher than any other state! Now you want mail in ballots without proof of residency! Not the America or Alaska I grew up in! You better wake up Alaskans or they’ll start making it unlawful to catch fish and kill game! You’ve already overfished just about every resource and now you want to kill the best salmon fishery in the world! What are you thinking Alaska. Get a hold of these so called progressives and save your state!

    • Maybe the state should not be “saved”, Charlie.
      .
      Maybe it should be allowed to sink.
      .
      Then whoever helped the sinking might move on to more promising pastures while the survivors salvage the wreck and rebuild it into what it was before so-called progressives got ahold of it.

  • Some election numbers from an article in Must Read Alaska a while back. In the Anchorage municipal election in 2015 there were 70,650 ballots cast at a cost of $451,000. This election was done the “old fashioned way,” people went to polinging sites and cast their ballots. In 2018 the Municipality of Anchorage got the “great Idea” to use mail in ballots. This election added 8,645 ballots to the mix for a total of 79,295 ballots cast. The cost of the 2018 election was $1,040,300, an added cost of $589,300 or $68.00 per additional vote cast. This is official government math. Imagine the increased cost the state would incur with mail in ballots vs the old fashioned way which has worked for a couple centuries now.

    Also, how do we know that the ballot mailed to the individual was marked by that individual? Wasn’t it some well known Democrat woman who claimed that white women are “bullied ” into voting the way their husbands told them to vote, and that is why she lost her election?

  • Who elected the League of Women Voters?

  • Not only no, but hell no!

  • Seems to me…we had a kerfuffle over English as a second language in the villages. So we provide special assistance in the form of native language support. How does that play out in a vote by mail election? Will each village have ‘special’ people on hand to read the ballot instructions? Etc?

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