By KENAI BOROUGH MAYOR CHARLIE PIERCE
Open Letter to Elected State Senators, State House and Lt. Governor:
People are losing trust in the election processes and elected officials. Doing nothing in Juneau is getting old, and people are fed up. Have we forgotten that we who are elected serve at the pleasure of the people who elected us? Why is it that we run for office, promise the world, get elected, then don’t talk to the people who got us elected again until we run for office again?
This cycle seeds distrust in the people we serve, and at the end of the day, these people are our bosses. We report to them, work for them, are accountable to them, and should make ourselves available to them. Raising money, getting elected, blaming the system on no results, saying you need more time to accomplish things, raising more money to get elected again for the things your first promised years ago — this way of life has got to go!
I am not perfect by any means, but I answered to no special interest groups and did precisely what I said I was going to do, which balanced the budget and did not raise taxes. I have been doing this every year, day in and day out, with a great team at the Kenai Peninsula Borough. I also keep a literal open-meeting policy. Anyone from the public is welcome to come into my office and meet with me. If I am in my office at the time, I will make time for you right then and there. If I am busy, then we will schedule a meeting for later. You don’t have to be a president of a company or a lobbyist to get an appointment with me. I’m a small-town guy raised by a mom who showed me the value of people is not in their titles or how much money they make, but in who they are as a person.
What I hear from people all over the borough is: Does my vote count, why aren’t there stricter voter ID laws, how much voter fraud happens each year, why are there not forensic audits on each election cycle? These are questions from good, hard-working Alaskans, and I guess that it rings true all over the state. The average person that I meet does not trust the system. Again, what are we doing to win back this trust?
Making political statements about trying to fix it or trying to look into it is not enough anymore. We need action and results at the state level. Anyone who tells you election fraud does not happen is lying. A former elected official allegedly committed election fraud to get reelected. This potential election fraud just happened a couple of years ago, and what if there was more, but she was the only one that got caught.
This is why a forensic audit would at least help restore trust because you don’t have to look back but a couple of years, and you will find this huge election fraud case happening right here in Alaska.
There are more all around the USA: https://www.heritage.org/voterfraud/#choose-a-state.
In one case in Alaska, a person pleaded guilty to a felony count of forging signatures on an initiative petition to re-establish the coastal zone management plan. One of the initiative’s sponsors noticed inconsistencies with the signatures that the person had collected and reported the problem to the authorities. The forger was sentenced to serve two years in jail followed by three years’ probation. This case was caught, but I suspect many cases of fraud in Alaska elections are not.
Bottom line is that election fraud occurs, and we need to do a better job as a state to prevent it.
So, what can you do as elected officials? You may not like what I have to say: It’s called accountability. I encourage you to be grateful to the people who helped you get elected, know that you are accountable to the people that elected you, and make sure you show them that you know that.
Second, give the lieutenant governor the tools he needs to ensure election fraud does not happen again in our back yards. We are losing the trust of the people, and doing nothing in Juneau is getting old fast.
Charlie Pierce was elected mayor of the Kenai Peninsula Borough in 2017, and was reelected in 2020.