WELL-HEELED ACLU SPENT $25 PER ‘NO’ VOTE ON BATHROOM BILL
More Anchorage voters marked yes or no on “the bathroom bill” question than for all of the candidates for mayor during the municipal election that ended Tuesday.
With just 1,000 ballots remaining to be counted, Prop. 1 didn’t pass muster with 40,378 voters (52.7 percent), compared to the 36,234 (47.3 percent) who favored restoring bathrooms and locker rooms to respective male and female gender norms.
More than $1 million was spent by the ACLU-Fair Anchorage group to convince voters that public bathroom and dressing facilities need to be gender-neutral. That means they spent $25 per vote against the question.
Some 1,754 more votes were cast on that question than were cast in the mayor’s race.
Candidates for mayor attracted 74,858 votes, with incumbent Mayor Ethan Berkowitz taking 55.1 percent of the vote to Rebecca Logan’s 37.1 percent. Seven other candidate split the remainder. If they had not been on the ballot, Logan likely would have received 32,972 votes, but still lost.
The ACLU-Fair Anchorage effort, supported by Planned Parenthood and national LGBT organizations, contributed to the comparatively solid turnout with their voter ID and massive get-out-the-vote operations.
Ballots were mailed to voters on March 13 and, after a first rush of ballots, the numbers received dropped off until the last four days, when 40 percent of the ballots flooded into the city’s Ship Creek election office.
A few hundred more people also voted on the other propositions than voted for mayor.
Prop. 10, the sale of the city’s utility to Chugach Electric Association, received 74,885, and the question passed comfortably by 65.2 percent.
Prop. 11, to give greater property tax exemptions, passed with 72.5 percent of the vote with 75,124 total votes cast, again slightly more than those voting in the mayor’s race.
There was no wave of Democrats voting, even though some of the results of the election went decidedly liberal, with all bond measures passing and a leftist mayor re-elected.
Of three liberal candidates running for school board, only one was elected: Deena Mitchell. The others, Alisha Hilde and Elisa Snelling, are more conservative.
That indicates there was no block voting occurring. People who were motivated to vote on Prop. 1 did not necessarily vote for liberal school board candidate Tasha Hotch, for instance, even though she ran joint campaign ads with Deena Mitchell, who captured 70 percent of the vote.
And since both of the leading candidates for mayor came out in opposition to Prop. 1, it was not a campaign issue for either of them.
FRAUD? HARD TO SAY
No evidence has emerged of widespread voter fraud, although one voter that Must Read Alaska spoke with had someone fill out her ballot at her request and sign it because she was out of town and unable to meet the deadline. That ballot and signature were accepted by the election office, even though the signatures did not match what was presumably on file. It’s impossible to know how many such ballots were accepted.
Forty-seven percent of voters (36,295) used the U.S. mail to send their ballots in, which meant they had to provide the first-class stamp. Others used voting assistance centers and strategically placed drop boxes, which were emptied each day by election workers.
VOTING ASSISTANCE CENTERS BY THE NUMBERS
Ballots returned in person to Voting Assistance Centers:
O’Malley Golf Course Voting Assistance Center – 1,461
Eagle River Voting Assistance Center 634
Election Office at Ship Creek – 688
City Hall – 1,737
Loussac Library – 6,784
DROP BOXES BY THE NUMBERS
Ballots dropped into secure drop boxes:
Fairview – 738
Clark Middle School – 830
Bartlett High School – 940
South High School – 2,029
Service High School – 2,396
Dimond High School – 3,122
Eagle River High School – 5,700
Loussac Library – 8,099
Girdwood – 432
UAA Campus – 1,744
Anchorage School District on Boniface/Northern Lights – 3,941
Anchorage Pioneer Home – 27 votes cast
Anchorage Senior Center – 36 votes cast
Chugiak Senior Center – 14 votes cast
Number of ballots that came in postmarked too late – approximately 200
Number of ballots with no signature or unverifiable signature – approximately 300 (letters are being sent to those voters)
Number of votes that came in during the last four days – approximately 40 percent.
Number of people voting who had not voted for several years (including newly registered voters): approximately 5,300